(CHICAGO) More than 100 people, many bearing candles and balloons, gathered Tuesday evening to remember Pierre Loury at the West Side location where he was fatally shot by a Chicago Police officer 24 hours earlier.
Emotions were raw as activists mixed with people who knew Loury, 16, and accused the police of acting with impunity, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
“He’s my brother and they killed him for no reason,” Antoine Hudson, 13, said at the vigil in the 3400 block of West Grenshaw Street in the Homan Square neighborhood.
Family and friends held up Loury’s mother, Tambrasha Hudson, who cried hard as supporters called for police accountability and justice.
On Tuesday, conflicting portraits emerged of Loury, who was shot after a chase with police that began when the teen ran from a car that matched the description of a car that had been involved in a shooting earlier that evening.
After a foot chase, police said the officer fired at Loury as the teen turned toward the officer while holding a pistol behind an abandoned house in the 3400 block of West Grenshaw Street at about 7:40 p.m., about a block from Loury’s home. Police have not named the officer who shot Loury.
Deputy Police Supt. John J. Escalante told reporters Tuesday that Loury was a documented gang member who had “prior contact” with police, and a gun was found at the scene.
But family and friends painted Loury as an average teen, who aspired to a career as a rapper — a vocation he tried to fuel with videos posted to YouTube and Facebook, under the names “Pierre Santana,” “Polo,” and “Shorty Lo.”
“It wasn’t like him, he wouldn’t do that,” his mother, Tambrasha Hudson, said Tuesday.
The echoes of other recent shootings of African-American teens — Laquan McDonald and Quintonio LeGrier — by CPD officers in questionable circumstances were clear to activists who organized Tuesday’s prayer vigil.
LeGrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, attended the vigil and held a picture of her son, who was killed by Chicago police officers during a confrontation late last year.
“The one thing I asked the mayor to do for me is is to not let another mother go through what I’m going through,” she said. “It’s time for these cops to go to jail.”
Classmates said Loury had steady attendance at Chicago Christian Alternative Academy and was quiet and reserved at school. Regina McKinney, 18, said she had known Loury since they were in grade school, and said she didn’t believe the version of events offered by police.
“I know [Loury] well enough to know he wasn’t like that,” McKinney said. “You know what I think it was? A case of mistaken identity. They saw him running, and they chased him. Of course if you see the police roll up on you, nine times out of 10, you’re going to run.”
But Loury was not shy about talking about the violence in his neighborhood on his various social media accounts. In postings on Facebook and Instagram, he posed with what appear to be pistols or with friends brandishing guns.
In a March 18 Facebook post, he wrote, “Gatta Keep Da Strap Ni – – – – Always Worried Bout Da Police . . . I’m Focused On Keepin My Life… Rather Be In Jail Than Dead Anyday.”
Two days later, he posted a link to a newspaper article about the arrest of 18-year-old Dwon Wright, on charges connected to a gang-related shooting that left three men wounded. “Free My F—in Boy,” Loury captioned the posting.
According to prosecutors, the shooting took place just a block from where Loury was shot.
Police have offered few details about the shooting, referring questions to the Independent Police Review Authority, the civilian agency that investigates police shootings and misconduct allegations. The officer who shot Loury has been placed on desk duty for 30 days, a practice the department adopted in the aftermath of the McDonald shooting.