Chicago police officers fatally shot at a man riding in a funeral procession on Saturday in what authorities said was a “road rage incident,” WGN-TV reports.
Police officials said in a statement that an altercation began when the car stopped in front of a fire house and an off-duty firefighter told the driver that she was illegally blocking the fire lane.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson stated at a press conference that an off-duty police officer witnessed, from a barbershop across the street, that the situation was escalating and got involved. According to Johnson, the policeman identified himself as an officer. At some point, authorities said, Joshua Beal, 25, “displayed a weapon” and refused to drop it.
The Chicago Tribune said another off-duty police sergeant, in uniform, came upon the scene while driving to work. Both policemen fired their guns, fatally shooting Beal. Authorities were uncertain in their early report whether Beal fired his weapon and which of the two officers hit Beal. Johnson said the incident is under investigation.
Beal’s family has a different version of the incident.
They said Beal, who was in town from Indianapolis for his cousin’s funeral, was riding in a car driven by his 17-year-old sister. A vehicle, which the family believes was driven by the off-duty police officer, cut off the car Beal was in and forced it off the road. The driver got out the car and pointed a gun at the driver’s head.
The family said Beal told police he was legally carrying a concealed weapon. At that point, they said the officer shot Beal. Beal’s mother stated that he was shot two times in the back and three times in the chest.