CHICAGO – Family members that had just left the Mount Hope Cemetery, burying a loved one, are now grieving another loss, after what police call a “road rage incident” led to an off-duty Chicago police officer fatally shooting an Indiana man Saturday.
Chicago police and the family of 25-year-old Joshua Beal are telling two different stories about what led up to the officer shooting Beal around 3 p.m. Saturday near 111th and Troy in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood.
Police say the car Beal was riding in had just left the cemetery when the car pulled in front of a fire house. After a firefighter told Beal they were illegally blocking a fire lane and had to move, police say, the confrontation led to a fight.
Chicago police say an off-duty officer in a barbershop saw the fight and got involved. They say Beal pulled out a weapon, and then another officer driving by saw the altercation, stopped and got out of his car. They say as the situation escalated, Beal didn't drop the gun, and shots were fired.
Witness Britnie Nelson shot cell phone video of the incident, and both she and the family say this incident appeared not to have started in front of the fire station, but earlier, in traffic.
“I heard a whole lot of yelling. They said, 'you ran me off the road.'” Nelson said. “As I'm looking I see the officer shoot the man; the gun went off 13 times.”
Beal's family says he was riding in a car as part of a funeral procession, when he and his sister, who was driving, were forced off the road by an off-duty officer. They say the officer had a woman from their group on the ground at gunpoint.
“He just came out of nowhere cut me off, and was behind my little sister and tried to run her off the road,” said Cordney Boxley, Beale's sister.
Beal's family said he then told the officer he had a conceal carry license, and had a weapon. They say that's when the officer shot Beal.
“Chicago police gunned my baby down like a vicious animal. They shot him twice in his back and 3 times in his front,” said Tiffaney Boxley, Beale's mother. “This has to stop. My son came here to bury his first cousin. Now my grandkids are left without a father."
Beal was taken to Christ Hospital, where he died from his injuries.
The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating this shooting. The officers involved will be on desk duty for 30 days.