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Monday, July 18, 2011

Witnesses dispute police account of fatal shooting

Two men were shot dead by police within nine hours this weekend in two separate incidents on the West and South sides.

Police say both men were pointing their guns at officers when they were killed — but two witnesses to the West Side shooting told the Independent Police Review Authority that they saw Lynell Hawkins, 32, throw his gun away before he was fatally shot.

Their statements — also made to the Sun-Times Sunday — contradict the Fraternal Order of Police account of why the officer pulled the trigger.

According to a Chicago Police statement, officers were flagged down by witnesses who heard gunshots near West Madison and South Parkside around 4:20 p.m. Saturday.

FOP spokesman Pat Camden said the officers did not initially shoot back because a mother and child were present. One officer followed Hawkins up the rear stairs of a 12-unit apartment building and told the suspect to drop his gun, Camden said. When Hawkins refused, then, at the top of the third-floor stairwell, he pointed his weapon at the officer and the officer shot him, Camden said.

But two witnesses who said they were on a third-floor balcony 10 yards away say Hawkins threw his weapon away before the officer arrived.

“He threw the gun onto the roof next door but it slid off and fell three floors to the ground below,” one said.

“The cop arrived five seconds later, saw the gun on the floor, then ran up the stairs and shot the man,” added the witness, whose account matched that of the second witness.    FULL STORY

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