Karen Winters knows how easily boys are drawn to a life of violence in the Homan Square neighborhood. But she still can’t understand how her Teen nephew ended up shot to death after allegedly threatening a Chicago police officer with a gun during a brief foot chase Monday night.
“Once again, we’re looking at environment, this community, how some of these young boys are just plagued with certain influences,” Winters said Tuesday as relatives consoled the teen’s mother. “But not to this extent, by no means.”
Police said Pierre Loury was shot as he fled on foot from a car that officers had pulled over because it matched the description of a vehicle used in an earlier shooting.
An autopsy showed the teen suffered a gunshot wound to the chest.
Citing a preliminary investigation, First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante said the lone officer who chased the teen opened fire after the teen turned and pointed a gun at him. A semi-automatic weapon was recovered at the scene, Escalante said.
It marked the fifth police-involved shooting so far this year and the third fatal one.
A woman who said she witnessed the shooting told the Tribune the teen was shot as he was scaling a fence.
“They shot him in the air,” she said. “His pants leg got caught on the fence and he hit the ground. If he hadn’t gotten shot, he would have cleared the fence.”
The woman spoke on condition of anonymity, saying she feared backlash from police. She said she had denied to police that night that she had seen anything.
A law enforcement source confirmed that before he was shot, Loury was trying to hop a fence and that his clothing had become entangled in the fence.
Police said Harrison District officers on routine patrol attempted to stop the car containing Loury about 7:40 p.m. Monday in the 3400 block of West Grenshaw Street because it matched the description of a vehicle from an earlier shooting.
Chicago police scanner traffic archived on Broadcastify.com suggested the car had been involved in a shooting about a half-hour earlier a few miles away in the Little Village neighborhood. But on Tuesday, law enforcement sources raised doubts of a connection to that homicide but still believed the car containing Loury was involved in another shooting earlier that night that may or may not have resulted in injuries.
The driver of that car — believed to be female, according to the scanner traffic — had gotten away after officers pursued Loury on foot and is still wanted by police, Escalante said.
Escalante said Loury had “prior contact” with police and that police considered him a documented gang member.
He also said the officer involved in the shooting would be placed on paid desk duty for at least 30 days — a new department policy after an officer fatally shot a college student wielding a baseball bat on the day after Christmas and accidentally shot and killed a 55-year-old neighbor as well, according to police.
On Monday, the woman who said she witnessed the shooting heard police sirens and noise about 7:40 p.m. as she began to prepare dinner. She said she then heard someone yell “we got a jumper, we got a jumper,” so she peered out a window.
She said she saw a young boy whom she recognized from the neighborhood trying to jump over a fence. She said she did not see a gun in his hand, but it was dark.
A video shot by someone in the neighborhood and posted on Facebook showed detectives approach the boy from the other side of the fence, then gather around the body, shining flashlights across the yard.
The woman who said she witnessed the shooting told the Tribune she saw a paramedic check the boy’s pulse and heard him say he was still alive.
Loury was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and pronounced dead at 8:27 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
On Tuesday, Loury’s family and friends gathered at the two-flat apartment building in East Garfield Park where his mother lives.
Loury’s mother, Tambrasha Hudson, her son’s first name tattooed in cursive on her neck, cried loudly on the front porch, tears streaming down her face, as relatives tried to console her.
“Everything they said on the news is not the truth,” Hudson said, her voice choked with emotion. “It is not the truth. It’s not the truth.
“It’s sad!” she said repeatedly. “My baby was 16, not 30. My baby was 16! Sixteen!”
Pierre’s grandmother, Catherine Hudson, said she was sleeping when her daughter called to tell her of the shooting by police. The grandmother said she was fearing the worst “but praying for the better.”
The family had been mentioned in a 2000 Tribune story about the high rate of truancy at Rezin Orr High School. His mother, then an 18-year-old junior at the West Side high school, said she missed school for a number of days to care for her then-infant son.
“It’s not like I’m just out hanging in the streets,” she told members of Orr’s truancy crew who had stopped by her home at the time. “My baby needs me at home. That’s where I’m going to be, school or not.”
His family said Loury was the oldest of five children, an aspiring rapper who attended Community Christian Alternative Academy in the West Side’s Lawndale neighborhood.
“He’s a typical Chicago teen male, no different than any other young man living in this city, facing some of the same challenges and trials and tribulations,” Winters said in the vestibule of the two-flat.
Winters said she found reports of her nephew carrying a gun hard to believe and described his past brushes with the law as “small, minor incidents.”
On Loury’s Facebook page, friends called him by his nickname, “Polo.” Photos of what appeared to be drugs and guns were mixed with occasional inspirational posts about bettering himself.
He frequently posted photos of his outfit of the day as well as new shoes, watches and distressed painted jeans. He also often referred to the Reese Money Gang or RMG, letters tattooed on his neck.
Some videos posted late last month showed Loury hanging out with friends, smoking and counting what appeared to be stacks of money. Loury also talked about having bigger plans for himself, writing, “Thinkin of A Master Plan.”
Bionca Johnson, who lives on the 3400 block of Grenshaw Street, said Loury had brought her groceries home for her before. Many people in the neighborhood have a “kill or be killed” mentality, she said.
“It’s the story of the police, everybody has a gun,” Johnson said. “Half the time, these babies probably do have guns. They’re probably scared with everything they’re seeing on the news, so it’s like, ‘[I’m going to] shoot first before I get killed.'”
She said that people need to stop “knocking down” teens and to put more funding into youth programs, and to create hope for a better life.
“When you look around, what do you got to look forward to?” Johnson said. “Like, am I going to have to live here my whole life?”
Tuesday night, more than 100 people gathered at the scene where Loury was killed for a vigil sponsored by groups including Black Lives Matter Chicago and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. As the time of the vigil approached, a woman tied metallic red and blue balloons to a black iron fence near the intersection of Central Park Avenue and Grenshaw Street.
The crowd chanted “justice for Pierre” gathering near the middle of the street. Some people held up a fabric poster that had faces of young black people who have been killed be police.
Shortly after 8 p.m., protesters spilled onto the Eisenhower Expressway. Police sirens went off immediately and officers jumped out to try to stop them, but some were already too far ahead. Police vehicles stopped traffic on the expressway, causing a pileup on lanes headed toward downtown.
Other protesters walked away from the entrance to the highway, some shaking their heads furiously and questioning the leadership of the group.
“I don’t condone what they did out here,” said Tatiana Balogun, 18 who lives on the 3400 block of Grenshaw Street who was marching with the protesters but ran the other direction when the group went onto the expressway.
“I don’t condone what they did to the rest of the black people out here but I’m not getting killed for nobody,” she said. “You don’t take innocent kids on the expressway. You’re an adult. You don’t take kids on that expressway. That’s wrong.”
Protesters split into multiple groups throughout the night. but a main group stayed near the intersection of St. Louis Avenue and Grenshaw Street.
“It’s been hectic,” said Deshawn Nelson, 17 and a friend of Pierre Loury. “Stop the violence, we’re too young.” Police told the crowd to disperse around 10 p.m. Two people were arrested at the protest, and charges were pending.
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