CHICAGO — Anthony Alvarez was running away with a gun in his hand when he was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer during a foot chase on the Northwest Side last month.
Video footage of the shooting was released Wednesday by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the agency that investigates CPD officers’ uses of force. Alvarez’s family and their attorneys viewed the videos at COPA’s office in West Town on Tuesday.
Authorities have disclosed relatively few details about what precipitated the shooting. During a press conference at CPD headquarters after the release of the footage, Supt. David Brown declined to say why Alvarez was being pursued.
NOTE: WGN has edited the video in this story to stop at the moment just before Anthony Alvarez is shot. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
“That will be revealed with COPA’s investigation,” he said.
Footage released Wednesday shows Alvarez, 22, leaving a gas station at the corner of Addison Street and Laramie Avenue in the early hours of March 31. As he walks through the parking lot, an unmarked CPD SUV quickly approaches. Alvarez drops a bag he was carrying and he then runs south toward Eddy Street.
The two officers then give chase on foot. Alvarez turns west onto Eddy Street before tripping and losing his footing. After twice stumbling to the ground, he stands back up on the front lawn of a home on the north side of the street. He can be seen holding a cellphone in his left hand and a gun in his right hand.
As Alvarez stands back up, one of the officers catches up to him and yells, “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!” before firing five shots at Alvarez, who collapses on a front lawn. The officer looked to be about 10 feet away from Alvarez when he opened fire.
After he’s shot, Alvarez crumples to the ground and asks the officer: “Why’d you shoot me?”
The officer replies: “You had a gun.”
The officer who fired his gun then tells a police dispatcher that shots were fired by the police and an ambulance was needed. The shooting officer tried to handcuff Alvarez as he was on the ground, but the officer’s partner insisted on first trying to give Alvarez first aid.
Security footage from a nearby home shows officers performing chest compressions before an ambulance arrives. Alvarez was later pronounced dead at Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
After viewing the footage at COPA’s office on Tuesday, Todd Pugh, an attorney for the Alvarez family, told reporters: “I believe that the City of Chicago is going to come to the same conclusion we have, which is that our client was fleeing police officers and was shot from behind and killed.”
Roxana Figueroa, a cousin of Alvarez, said the family still doesn’t know why police were chasing him in the first place.
In a joint statement, the Alvarez family’s attorneys and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said: “Both parties are acutely aware of the range of emotions that will accompany the release of these materials, and we collectively issue this statement and ask that those who wish to express themselves do so peacefully and with respect for our communities and the residents of Chicago.”
The fatal shooting of Alvarez received relatively little attention compared to the killing of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed by another CPD officer two days earlier in Little Village. Video footage of that shooting was released earlier this month.
Following the two shootings, Lightfoot called for a review of the CPD’s effectively non-existent foot pursuit policy.
After investigating the CPD in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting, the United States Department of Justice found that CPD officers “engage in tactically unsound and unnecessary foot pursuits, and that these foot pursuits too often end with officers unreasonably shooting someone — including unarmed individuals.”