No one was injured when a 10-year-old boy opened fire on Chicago police officers during Monday's standoff at a home in the Beverly neighborhood.
Officers responded around 11:20 a.m. after learning the boy had opened fire inside the home on the 9800 block of South Charles Street, police said in a statement, which noted he was in “mental distress.”
The boy stepped on the porch and pointed the gun at the responding officer and at his own head, Deputy Chief Migdalia Bulnes told reporters near the scene. He then fired one shot, sending the officers ducking for cover.
Officers tried to defuse the situation by firing bullets into the house without hitting the boy, but “it was too soon for them to get the negotiators out,” Bulnes said. After going back inside and then back out onto the porch, the boy again put a gun to his head.
Officers ended up shooting chemicals onto the porch, scaring the boy, Bulnes said. He threw the gun and was then detained without incident.
Bulnes said the weapon was not secured at his home, and investigators are trying to determine how he got it. A law enforcement source said he found it in his mother's purse.
The deputy chief said he was “impressed” by the police response.
“This really puts your training into perspective,” he says. “It's a little more complicated because he is 10 years old and he is in trouble. And we know it. He's still a kid, so that's what we had in mind when we discussed the next steps.”
Neighbors said they occasionally saw the boy and his sister playing outside, like other children in the familiar neighborhood.
But Jennifer Mitchell, a neighbor who has lived on the block for more than 50 years, said she was aware the boy's mother was getting at least a few calls from her school about him causing “trouble” there.
Ald. Matt O'Shea (19) admits that neighbors reported seeing the warning signs but his office was never alerted. He believed two family members were at home during the standoff, including the boy's mother.
“Everyone wants to get guns now. … But it is the duty of adults who get guns to store guns properly, not where little boys can get them – little boys who have a history of mental health problems,” he said. “I mean, this could be a tragedy going in many different directions.”
He added: “You get shots at home, shots at the police and everybody goes home. It never happened.”