A 25-year-old black man was shot and killed during a road rage incident that also involved two off-duty Chicago police officers, an off-duty city firefighter and members of the man’s family, who were in a funeral procession.
Joshua Beal was in Chicago for his cousin’s funeral when the shooting occurred Saturday at 111th and Troy streets in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood of the city, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Authorities said an off-duty police sergeant was in uniform on the way to work when he encountered the road rage incident involving Beal’s family, the off-duty firefighter and the other off-duty officer, who was not in uniform, the newspaper reports. A police spokesman said an officer was fired upon and returned fire.
Beal, of Indianapolis, Indiana, was taken to a local hospital, where he died, the newspaper reports.
“Chicago police gunned my baby down like a vicious animal,” Tiffaney Boxley, Beal’s mither, told WGN-TV. “They shot him twice in the back and three times in his front.”
The off-duty police officer and the off-duty sergeant, who have not been identified, have both been placed on paid administrative leave, officials said. One of the officers was taken to the hospital after the incident, but was not seriously injured, police said.
The off-duty firefighter involved in the incident has also not been named.
The shooting is being investigated by the city’s Independent Police Review Authority.
“While it is still very early in the investigation, we can confirm that early ballistic evidence suggests that multiple firearms were discharged. It is our hope that people will wait until all evidence is brought to light before making any conclusions about what happened yesterday evening,” IPRA spokeswoman Mia Sissac told the Chicago Tribune.
Police said both officers fired shots during the incident, according to the Tribune.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Video Recorded by a Witness Shows a Chaotic Scene Before More Than a Dozen Shots Are Fired
Video recorded by a witness to the Saturday incident has been obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times and other media outlets.
“I heard a whole lot of yelling. They said, ‘you ran me off the road.'” the witness, Britnie Nelson, told WGN-TV. “As I’m looking I see the officer shoot the man; the gun went off 13 times.”
The recording shows a chaotic scene before and after the shooting, but the shooting itself is not seen. But at least 13 shots can be heard off camera.
You can watch the video below:
The video shows several vehicles stopped in the middle of 111th Street near Troy Street. People can be heard yelling at each other as Nelson approaches.
A man in a red shirt approaches part of the crowd with what appears to be a gun in his hand. Another man can be seen telling people to back off and get on the ground. The man in the red shirt then appears to tuck his gun into his pants or a holster.
The video then pans back and forth a few times, and briefly shows a man in a white shirt appearing to point a gun before lowering it.
The video then stops and is restarted after an unknown amount of time passes. The camera is pointing at the ground, with yelling still heard in the background. Screaming is then heard, followed by several shots.
Crying can then be heard as a woman says, “they killed him somebody got hit, they killed him, they shoot.”
The crying woman is asked where she is going and she says, “back to the funeral.”
The other woman says, “they just killed our own people. … The police.”
A still photo from the scene appears to show a man pointing a gun. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Sun-Times it appears to be Beal in the photo, but investigators have not yet confirmed that.
The witness, Britnie Nelson, says she is not related to or otherwise connected to Beal and was just in the area at the time of the shooting.
“I felt bad because I never seen so much chaos,” Nelson told the Chicago Tribune. “It should’ve never happened in the first place. They come to lay someone to rest, then this person dies for no reason.”
2. Police Say the Off-Duty Officer Fired After Seeing Beal With a Gun, While Beal’s Family Says the Cop Cut-Off the Funeral Procession
The police and Joshua Beal’s family have put forward differing versions of what happened leading up to and during the shooting.
According to DNA Info Chicago, the shooting happened about 3 p.m. Saturday, police said in a statement. A vehicle that had just left a funeral service was stopped in traffic in front of a Chicago Fire Department station. An off-duty firefighter confronted the driver of the vehicle, telling him he was blocking a fire line, police said in the statement.
According to police, the driver got out of the car and a fight broke out. An off-duty police officer was in a local barber shop and saw the fight, came out and joined the melee, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Police said an off-duty sergeant, who was in uniform and was driving to work, then also saw the fight and a man with a gun.
“The Sergeant stopped, exited his vehicle, displayed his weapon and announced his office,” police said in the statement, according to DNA Info. “As the incident continued to escalate and the offender failed to drop his weapon, shots were fired striking the individual multiple times.”
Police said both off-duty officers identified themselves as being with the Chicago Police Department. Beal was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead at 3:44 p.m.
But Beal’s family has told reporters a different story of what happened. They say the road rage incident started before the family’s funeral procession was stopped in front of the firehouse.
His sister, Cordney Boxley, told the Chicago Tribune that she believes her 17-year-old sister was cut off and ran off the road by a police officer in an unmarked car.
“He just came out of nowhere cut me off, and was behind my little sister and tried to run her off the road,” Boxley told WGN-TV.
They say Beal pulled out a gun after seeing the officer holding his sister at gunpoint.
Beal’s cousin, Casey Fisher, told a similar story to WXIN-TV.
“His sister and the police officer was having words but he didn’t say he was a police officer or anything,” Fisher said. “He was plain clothes and called her a bitch and things like that. She got out the car. They arguing. He put a gun to her head.”
He said the officer fired twice while Beal was on the ground trying to hide under a car.
“He tried crawling under the car to try to protect hisself,” Fisher told the news station. “And then the cop came and shot him two more times while he was on the ground.”
Fisher said Beal’s brother tackled the off-duty officer to the ground after the shooting.
Beal’s 28-year-old brother, Michael Beal, was arrested at the scene, the Chicago Tribune reports. He was charged with attempting to disarm a police officer and aggravated battery of a police officer.
He is accused of tackling the off-duty sergeant and putting him in a chokehold after the shooting, police told the newspaper. Protesters say Beal’s brother remains in jail.
3. Beal’s Family Says He Has a License to Carry a Gun, but Police Say He Was Not Legally Allowed to Carry It in Chicago
Joshua Beal’s family told CBS Chicago that he had a license to carry a gun.
“My brother is one who is licensed to carry his gun wherever he goes. This man never identified himself, never said anything. He just started shooting through the windshield of my brother’s car,” Cordney Boxley told the news station.
Beal’s family has said he tried telling the officers he had a permit to carry the gun.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Tribune that Beal did not have a concealed carry permit in Illinois. Guglielmi said even if he had a permit to carry in Indiana, it would not have applied in Chicago.
Beal’s family have also said he did not fire at the officers.
Guglielmi told the Tribune investigators are working to determine whether Beal’s gun was “fired or may have misfired” during the incident.
Court records show Beal was previously convicted of misdemeanor battery after he was involved in a road rage incident involving a gun in Indiana.
Beal appealed the conviction, but it was upheld.
You can read the court documents below:
According to the court documents, Beal was rear-ended while waiting to turn in August 2009. His vehicle was pushed through the intersection and the other car made the left turn and continued on. Beal followed the car around the block and parked. He and the other driver, Porfiro Mendosa, then exited the car, according to the court documents.
“Beal wanted $660 to $700 from Mendosa and demanded Mendosa’s wallet. Mendosa had only $300 and was driving uninsured. When Mendosa could not pay the amount Beal wanted, Beal pulled out a gun and hit Mendosa on the forehead above his right eye with it. Beal then demanded Mendosa sign over the title to Mendosa’s truck,” prosecutors said. “Mendosa’s uncle arrived at the scene. He noticed Beal was angry and Beal had a gun tucked in his waistband. When Mendosa’s uncle called the police to report Beal’s possession of a gun, Beal walked to a nearby home and then returned without the gun.”
Police said they arrived to find a “very agitated” Beal, who began yelling and cursing at officers. Mendosa had a knot on his forehead, police said.
In his appeal, Beal denied having a gun or striking Mendosa. He claimed Mendosa was injured during the hit-and-run accident that preceded the argument. But police testified that the damage to the vehicles was minor, and likely wouldn’t have caused the injury.
4. He Is a Father of 2 Who Was Described by His Mother as a ‘College Graduate, a Business Owner & a Family Man’
Josh Beal previously lived in Chicago and lived in Indianapolis at the time of his death, his family says.
Beal graduated from Ivy Tech Community College in December 2015 with an associate’s degree in business administration, according to a photo of his diploma he posted on his Facebook page in September. His family told reporters he planned to enroll in Franklin University and hoped to one day own his own business.
His mother called him a “college graduate, a business owner and a family man,” according to WFLD-TV.
He was a father of two young sons, ages 4 and 2, with his longtime girlfriend. He proposed to her two months ago, his family told the Chicago Tribune.
“He wasn’t in no gang,” his mother, Tiffaney Boxley said. “He was a good kid. He was good person. You took a child who took care of his family.”
She said her son had a “promising future.”
Beal was in Chicago to be a pallbearer in his cousin’s funeral, his family told the Chicago Tribune.
His cousin, Marcus Washington, 26, was fatally shot in Indianapolis on October 27, according to the Tribune. Like Beal, Washington previously lived in Chicago and was being buried in his former home city on Saturday.
“The police are going to pay for this,” Miranda Macklin, a family member, told the Tribune. “Justice will be served.”
5. #JusticeforJoshua Protesters Have Clashed With Residents of the ‘Pro-Police’ Mount Greenwood Neighborhood Where Beal Was Killed
Protesters using #JusticeforJoshua and #JoshuaBeal have used social media to spread the word about the shooting. They also gathered in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood where the shooting occurred.
But they have clashed there with Mount Greenwood residents, who held counter protests, holding signs with #BlueLivesMatter and other messages supporting the Chicago Police. More than 80 percent of the neighborhood’s residents are white, according to census data.
Some residents told the Chicago Tribune the neighborhood is “very pro-police” and they believe the shooting was justified.
“It’s always like ‘The police did this, the police did that, oh my God, they shot him for no reason at all,’” one woman, who did not give her name, told the Tribune. “Really? You really think it was unprovoked?”
Facebook Live videos posted by Black Lives Matter Chicago show tense interactions between protesters and residents.
“There was no protest,” Activist Kofi Ademola told DNAInfo Chicago. “We were there to check on the family to make sure they were safe. Next thing we knew, we were surrounded by a bunch of angry white people. Nobody said anything to them.”
Ademola said residents told them to get out of the neighborhood and go back home.
“A young white guy [walked] up with a baseball bat,” Ademola told the news site. “The police took the baseball bat from him. White people are driving by and yelling at us ‘n—– go home!’ Get the f— out of here! Blue Lives Matter.’ More of them got out of the car and chanted ‘CPD! Blue Lives Matter.'”