The New York Times news section has a pretty good explanation of the last second of the life of 13-year-old gang-banger “Lil Homicide” Toledo:
In just under one second, the 13-year-old from Chicago appeared to toss away a handgun and turn with his hands raised before being shot.
By Christoph Koettl and Evan Hill
April 16, 2021
Body camera footage released by an independent city agency in Chicago on Thursday showed Police Officer Eric E. Stillman fatally shoot 13-year-old Adam Toledo following an early-morning foot chase on March 29 on the city’s West Side.
… The main confrontation — in which Adam appears to toss a handgun aside before turning with his hands raised, and Officer Stillman shoots him — is over in less than a second.
Because the shooting occurred so quickly, we identified key frames from the video to better understand what happened.
Here is what they show.
Officer Stillman’s body camera footage begins as he and his partner are responding to a report of gunfire in the Little Village neighborhood at 2:36 a.m. Two minutes later, Officer Stillman exits his car and begins chasing two people on foot down an alley that runs behind South Sawyer Avenue.
Officer Stillman shoves one man to the ground, leaving him for his partner, and continues chasing Adam with his gun drawn. “Police, stop, stop right now!” he shouts, adding a vulgarity.
Seventeen seconds into the chase, Adam slows down, and Officer Stillman catches up to him.
He shouts at Adam to show his hands.
The flashlight attached to Officer Stillman’s gun illuminates a handgun in Adam’s right hand.
“Drop it!” Officer Stillman shouts.
Adam begins turning toward him.
Video from a security camera mounted on a nearby school appears to show Adam tossing the handgun behind a fence as he turns.
The action is not visible on the body camera footage. But as Adam faces Officer Stillman, his hands are raised and he is no longer holding the gun.
Officer Stillman shouts “drop it!” again as Adam turns, but less than a second later, he fires one shot, and Adam falls to the ground.
So, here’s what seems to have happened: Adam Toledo as out in the wee hours with an adult criminal who, for reasons I haven’t seen, fired eight shots from his handgun. (By the way, when Establishmentarians argue that the gun was “empty,” that’s because it had just been fired eight times.) The cops rolled up and the adult gave the gun to the juvenile, probably because what’s the worst that could happen to a 13 year old caught with a smoking gun: juvie hall?
Lil Homicide ran with the gun visible in his right hand, but couldn’t outrun the cop. So he decided to surreptitiously ditch the gun behind the fence, turn around, and raise his hands.
Granted, that’s a pretty dumb plan because if he’d submitted to arrest, the cop would have demanded to know what happened to the gun, and, not finding the gun he’d seen on him anymore, have called for backup to look for it.
But because Toledo had intentionally hidden his tossing of the gun with his body from the view of the policeman in the hope of not getting charged with possession of a smoking gun, his turning around and raising his right arm looked to the cop like he was going to shoot.
Now, if the cop had major league third baseman reflexes, he might possibly have stopped himself from firing at the last microsecond. But if he did have NHL hockey goalie reflexes, he wouldn’t be a cop, now would he?
iSteve commenter Tusk notes:
Looking at the bodycam footage, by counting the frames and estimating the footage at 30fps, there was 0.67 second between when the cop last saw the gun, didn’t see it being discarded due to being blocked by the body, and then seeing the hands come up. As Steve always says, the cop made the choice to come home that night. He had no idea the gun was discarded and instead saw him raising the hand that just was holding a gun, 0.67 second ago, up at him.
iSteve commenter T notes:
The cop only fired one shot. Chicago PD procedure is to fire three; he most likely noticed that he had dropped the gun and stopped shooting.
Brooks Robinson in the 1970 World Series would have had the reflexes to stop himself from pulling the trigger at the last millisecond.