Courtney Copeland was just 22 years old when he was shot, a bullet flying through the window of his BMW convertible and striking him in the back early in the morning of March 4, 2016, in Chicago. The young man managed to get his vehicle to a police station where he flagged police officers for help shortly before dying on his way to the hospital.
He was a graduate of Jones College Prep High School, where he became friends with Chance the Rapper and was a star basketball player. After graduation, he worked at a travel agency and was a successful employee, earning the BMW convertible he was driving when he was shot, Oxygen reported.
His mother Shapearl Wells told the outlet, “He was actually someone who was working so hard, I mean like literally day and night, I would tell him ‘You know, you need to relax’ and he’s like ‘No, I need to achieve these goals,'” which was to earn money to help his family retire.
Copeland Was Shot in the Back While Driving & Managed to Get to a Police Station Where He Died Shortly After
Copeland left Pizano’s Pizza in Chicago in the early hours of March 4, 2016, and was heading to a friend’s house, who he called and told he was outside. However, when the friend went down to let him in, Copeland wasn’t there. Instead, he was driving himself to the 25th district police station with a gunshot wound to the back, NBC Chicago reported at the time.
The bullet had flown through the driver’s side of the BMW convertible Copeland was driving, the Chicago Tribune wrote. Copeland’s mother told NBC Chicago, “When he saw an officer, he jumped out and didn’t even put his car in park and told them he’d been shot. Then he collapsed and that’s all we know.” Copeland was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
From the beginning, the details were hazy. There were reports of two shots fired, the Intercept reported, but only one bullet was ever found, the one in Copeland’s neck. His BMW had no blood in it, which was surprising considering reports indicated Copeland was shot in his car. In addition, both the emergency room nurse who attended Copeland and the paramedics in the ambulance said he arrived in police handcuffs.
Copeland’s Mother Said Her Son Was Handcuffed While in Police Custody, Which Police Has Denied
Copeland’s mother Shapearl Wells said that from the beginning, police were not forthcoming with information about what happened the night of Copeland’s murder. “From the moment they told me that my son was shot, I became suspicious,” she told Oxygen. She said they refused to share video footage from the area that would have shown Copeland arriving at the police station asking for help and didn’t interview several people connected to the young man, the Intercept reported.
According to Oxygen, police denied handcuffing the young man, which contradicts the reports from the paramedics and the emergency room nurse. The outlet wrote that Wells and investigative journalist Alison Flowers were eventually able to get a copy of the video footage, which they said showed “him reaching up for help and a crowd of officers kind of milling around him, not engaging him very much.”
Flowers said Copeland was on the ground a long time and when he was eventually brought to the hospital in an ambulance, he wasn’t taken to the nearest hospital and two others were actually closer. Wells, frustrated with the lack of answers from the police department, contacted Flowers for help looking into her son’s murder.