joshua-beal

An Indiana man who had traveled to Chicago to act at a pallbearer at his cousin’s funeral was shot and killed Saturday as a road rage incident spun wildly out of control and led to a shootout.

A day after a police-involved shooting left a 25-year-old man dead, authorities Sunday worked to untangle how a chaotic scene on Chicago’s Far Southwest Side erupted in fatal gunfire.

Joshua Beal, of Indianapolis, was visiting Chicago with his fiancee Saturday to serve as a pallbearer in his cousin’s funeral, according to family members. Marcus Washington, 26, was found in a yard between two houses in Indianapolis, fatally shot in the head on Oct. 27, according to family and a local news report. Beal and Washington previously lived in Chicago.

As several mourners left the cemetery, some headed back to the funeral home while others, including Beal, went to visit an uncle in the hospital, relatives said.

Beal, who never made it to see his uncle, was fatally shot after he and several relatives were 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.

Both the sergeant and the officer fired their weapons, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. It is not yet known which of their shots may have hit the man, he said.

The confrontation unfolded around 3 p.m. Saturday in a neighborhood that is home to many active and retired police officers.

While several carloads of relatives were stopped in traffic in the 11100 block of South Troy Street, an off-duty firefighter told one of the people driving with Beal’s party that he or she was illegally blocking the fire lane, Guglielmi said. Police said Beal and his relatives began arguing with the firefighter.

Shortly after, an off-duty Chicago police officer nearby saw the altercation unfolding, approached the scene and became involved in the argument, Guglielmi said.

The uniformed Chicago police sergeant, who was on his way to work, came across the scene and saw a man with a gun in his hand. The sergeant displayed his weapon, Guglielmi said. As the incident escalated and the man with the gun did not drop his weapon, shots were fired, and the man was struck multiple times, Guglielmi said.

There is cell phone video of part of the confrontation, which shows a white man in a red shirt, later identified as an off-duty Chicago police officer, run up with his weapon out, pointing at a group of young black men and women.

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The reason he drew and pointed his weapon is not known, but in the still frame from bystander video (below) clearly show that he punched out with his gun. Witnesses said that the officer did clearly identify himself.

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As the group backs away after seeing the gun, the officer backs away, and pulls his gun to a retention position.

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The officer then holsters his gun, which he had been carrying in an appendix carry position.

The person filming the video then pans right and we see Beal, standing behind a grey Dodge (far right).

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The camera pans left, to the off-duty officer with the red shirt and now-holstered gun, then back to Beal.

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At this point, Beal has pulled a weapon, and is pointing it at officers. The moment shown again in a much clearer still photo, below.

Here’s the cell phone video of the incident.

The recorded video does not capture the shooting that occurs as the person with the cell phone had lowered the camera, but there is some arguing, screaming, and then what sounds like more than 20 shots being fired.

Beal’s family tells a radically different story than that told by authorities.

The police account sharply contrasts with Beal’s relatives’ version of events.

Beal’s sister Cordney Boxley said a man who she believed was a police officer ran her 17-year-old sister off the road. The man exited the vehicle and “he just started shooting,” hitting the windshield of a car containing Beal, 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, she said.

Two brief cellphone videos of the incident, filmed by witness Britnie Nelson, 32, of Hickory Hills, and obtained by the Tribune, show the last moments of the confrontation before shots are fired.

I would not claim that Ms. Boley is necessarily intentionally lying, but would simply note that her recollection of events does not come close to matching what the video suggests happened.

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This appears to be a very complex case with dozens of eyewitnesses and a complex crime scene with multiple actors on both sides. It will take a very long time to unravel.

Black Lives Matter protestors and Beals family are attempting to pin his death on the police officers escalating the situation.

Objectively, that is absurd.

Beal did not draw his weapon until after the officers apparently identified themselves and at least one officer had holstered his weapon and was attempting to de-escalate the situation.

Beals’ family also claimed that Beal had a concealed carry permit.

That is irrelevant for two reasons. The first is that an Indiana concealed carry permit is not valid in Illinois. Beal was illegally armed the moment he carried a concealed weapon across the state line into Illinois. The second is that a concealed carry permit does not give you the legal right to draw a weapon on police officers.

Despite the family’s attempts to portray Joshua Beal as an innocent victim, his court history shows he has not always been non-violent. Beal had a previous misdemeanor conviction in for road rage involving a gun in 2010.