Two Chicagopolice officers responsible for the shooting deaths of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez just days apart in March of 2021 are not being charged, per Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Officer Eric Stillman—who shot and killed Toledo on March 29—and Officer Evan Solano—who shot and killed Alvarez two days later—are not being charged after Foxx claimed officers feared for their lives in both incidents and said there was not enough evidence of them committing crimes, per CBS News.
Toledo’s family has since filed a wrongful death suit against the city of Chicago and Stillman, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“When we look at these cases, we must now also look at the law as it applies,” Foxx said. “Under Illinois law, an officer is justified in using force likely to cause death or great bodily harm when he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or to other such persons. Police officers are often forced to make split-second judgements in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving.”
Stillman shot Toledo less than a second after the teenager allegedly dropped a gun following a foot chase. The body cam footage shown above features the 13-year-old stopping and seemingly raising his hands without any weapons in them, before the officer fired a shot.
“Officer Stillman explained that, after he fired the one time, he saw Adam’s right hand was empty,” Foxx said. “He assessed the situation, and did not fire again, because he believed the threat no longer existed. Officer Stillman reacted to the perceived threat presented by Adam Toledo, who he believed at the time was turning toward him to shoot him. After the single shot was fired, and Officer Stillman recognized that Adam Toledo was no longer a threat, he immediately rendered aid, and continued to do so until the assisting officers and the paramedics arrived.”
Two days later, in separate incident, Solano shot Alvarez as he was reportedly holding a gun in his right hand while running away from the officer and his partner, while being chased at a gas station in Portage Park. Alvarez’s had his back turned toward the officer when he was shot. Solano had since been stripped of his policing duties. While Foxx says she has concerns about the Chicago Police Department’s foot pursuit policy, she reiterated that she believes evidence supports the officers’ claims that they feared for their lives in the moments that they shot and killed Toledo and Alvarez.
“As officer Solano rounded the corner, and observed Mr. Alvarez in a crouching position with a gun in his hand, and also observed Mr. Alvarez looking back at him while running with the gun in his hand, he thought Mr. Alvarez was turning to shoot toward him and his partner, who he believed was behind him,” Foxx said. “Officer Solano then fired five successive shots in the span of one second, as he veered to the left to avoid any shots fired by Mr. Alvarez, and he stopped once he no longer saw the gun in Mr. Alvarez’s hand.”
Foxx said that, after speaking to families of both Alvarez and Toledo, “it was profoundly disappointing that, here in the criminal courts, to them, there was no accountability, we must be guided as always by the principles of just prosecution, and that is what these decisions reflect today.”
“Despite that decision, we will continue fighting for Adam and have filed our civil complaint seeking monetary damages against Officer Stillman and the City of Chicago in our effort to get justice for Adam and the Toledo family,” Toledo family attorneys Adeena Weiss Ortiz of Weiss Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn of GrayRobinson said via a statement. “Officer Stillman’s use of deadly force was excessive and posed a threat to the safety of Adam and others. We will be contacting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to address this horrific travesty. Adam obeyed the police officer’s commands, stopped running, had his hands up in the surrender position, and was nevertheless shot and killed by Officer Stillman. Despite the painful loss of Adam, the Toledo family continues to call for peace on the streets of Chicago as they pursue justice through the court system.”
Foxx also spoke on the Alvarez shooting being a result of a traffic stop from the night before, adding that officers did not need to chase him that night.
“This incident happened the following day, while Mr. Alvarez was on foot. He wasn’t in the car, and the manner in which Mr. Alvarez was pursued in relation to a traffic stop; the foot pursuit was unnecessary, and it will be determined by COPA whether it was in violation of Chicago police policy,” Foxx added. “But it was the escalation of events that get us to our final conclusion, and it is the sincere hope that we have de-escalating measures, such that we are not putting the officer or the public at risk.”