A 25-year-old Indianapolis man who was in Chicago for a funeral is dead after an encounter with police.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Joshua Beal was visiting the city with his fiancee to serve as a pallbearer in his cousin’s funeral.
Following the funeral Beal, who previously lived in Chicago, was headed to visit an uncle in the hospital when he became involved in what authorities called a road rage incident with an off-duty police officer and an off-duty firefighter. A uniformed off-duty Chicago police sergeant arrived at the scene in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood while on his way to work, officials say.
Both law enforcement officers fired their weapons, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Who delivered the fatal shot remains unknown at this time.
Tiffaney Boxley, Beal’s mother, said her son had a “promising” future.
“He wasn’t in no gang,” she said. “He was a good kid. He was a good person. You took a child who took care of his family.”
Beal earned his associate’s degree in business administration in Dec. 2015 from Ivy Tech Community College. Relatives say he planned to enroll in Franklin University with the hope of one day owning his own business.
He proposed to his longtime girlfriend and the mother of his two sons two months ago.
The incident occurred around 3 p.m. Saturday. Police say several carloads of relatives were stopped in traffic in the 11100 block of South Troy Street when an off-duty firefighter told one of the drivers with Beal’s party that he or she was illegally blocking the fire lane. Police said Beal and his relatives started arguing with the firefighter when an off-duty Chicago police officer nearby saw the altercation unfolding.
The sergeant approached the scene, saw a man with a gun and displayed his weapon, Guglielmi said. According to officials, the man did not drop his weapon when ordered and shots were fired, striking him several times. Beal was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Beal’s weapon, a handgun, was recovered at the scene. He did not have a concealed carry permit in the state, officials say.
The police account tells a very different story than Beal’s relatives. Beal’s sister, Cordney Boxley, said a man believed to be a police officer ran her 17-year-old sister off the road. The man then exited the vehicle and “just started shooting,” hitting the windshield of the vehicle Beal was in, who had pulled his gun when he saw the man holding a gun on their cousin. Beal legally owned the gun and did not fire it, family members say.
If he had a concealed carry permit in Indiana, it would not have applied in the state of Illinois.
Two brief cellphone videos of the incident show the last moments of the confrontation before shots are fired.
The footage shows several people in the street and parked cars yelling and screaming. A man in a red T-shirt and jeans approaches the group, pointing a handgun. He, along with another man, order a few people to back away and later, get to the ground.
The man in the red shirt later appears to tuck his gun into his waistband.
The group continues to yell and exchange words for a brief moment, and a man in a white T-shirt can be seen lower his firearm.
The second video pans to the ground, but screaming followed by gunshots can be heard. First, a series of two individual shots and then a series of multiple shots in succession. There is a brief pause, then two more pops, followed by several more pops. People can be heard screaming and crying. Some can be seen running away from the scene.
The Independent Police Review Authority is talking to several witnesses. Officials say the Authority is taking steps to authenticate the videos and images that have been widely circulated.
“While it is still very early in the investigation, we can confirm that early ballistic evidence suggests that multiple firearms were discharged. It is our hope that people will wait until all evidence is brought to light before making any conclusions about what happened,” IPRA spokeswoman Mia Sissac said in a statement.