US grandmother Bettie Jones killed by Chicago police

Bettie Jones, known in her Chicago neighbourhood for her work with anti-violence community groups, was killed by police responding to a domestic disturbance just hours after she hosted family on Christmas Day.

US grandmother Bettie Jones killed by Chicago police

The fatal shooting of Jones, 55, and 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, a college student visiting his father for the holiday, at a West Side apartment, has raised further questions about a police department already under intense scrutiny.

Grieving relatives and friends of the two victims gathered to remember them, and to criticise city officials, whom they said had once again failed residents.

The shooting happened early on Saturday morning at the small, two-storey apartment, where Jones lived in a ground-floor unit and LeGrier’s father in an upstairs one.

Police, who were responding to a 911 call made by LeGrier’s father after an argument with his son, said that officers “were confronted by a combative subject, resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon” and added that Jones “was accidentally struck.”

Both Jones and LeGrier were black.

Their deaths come amid scrutiny of police, after a series of deaths of African-Americans at the hands of officers across the country gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Their deaths also come amid a federal civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department, which was launched after last month’s release of police dashcam video showing white officer, Jason Van Dyke, shooting black 17-year-old, Laquan McDonald, 16 times in 2014.

Police did not disclose the race of the officer or officers in the Jones-Le Grier killings, saying only that those involved would be placed on administrative duties.

LeGrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, placed candles on the porch of the home.

On either side of the door, Post-It notes indicated where two bullets hit siding.

“I used to watch the news daily and I would grieve for other mothers, other family members, and now, today, I’m grieving myself,” Cooksey said outside the residence.

Others said police should have used stun guns or other non-lethal methods, if they needed to subdue LeGrier.

“Why do (police) have to shoot first and ask questions later?” Jacqueline Walker, a friend of Jones, asked. “It’s ridiculous.”

Family spokesman, Eric Russell, said Jones’ many grandchildren had hoped to thank her for their Christmas gifts.

Autopsy findings releasedby the Cook County medical examiner’s office say Jones died from a gunshot to the chest and LeGrier from multiple gunshot wounds.

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