NORTH LAWNDALE — An hour into a vigil for Pierre Loury, fatally shot by police near his North Lawndale home Monday, and two distinct groups had splintered off.
One went to protest in front of a police building. Pierre's family and friends went to a vacant lot near where he was shot dead and said a prayer before letting balloons off into the air.
Pierre's mother, however, had trouble letting go of her balloon. She sobbed as it floated away.
"Let it go, sister," said activist Eric Russell. "You got a whole community who loves you, dear. We are gonna fight for you."
Over 100 people showed at a vigil for Loury, the 16-year-old killed after a foot chase with police Monday. The group met in the 3400 block of Grenshaw Street, where Pierre was shot just two blocks west of his own block on Grenshaw.
Around 7:40 p.m. Monday, officers on patrol in the 3400 block of West Grenshaw Street were trying to pull over a car they thought had been involved in a shooting when someone jumped out of the car and ran, according to a Chicago Police news release.
A brief chase led to an "armed encounter" between Pierre and the officer, and it ended with the officer fatally shooting the teen, police said.
Those who knew Pierre said police's version of the incident does not sound like the teen they know, though several photos posted to his Facebook page show the teen posing with what appears to be a gun.
"We know what happened," said Leroy Collins, 51, Pierre's uncle. "They shot an innocent kid and are now covering it up. It's the same thing — just a different day and neighborhood."
Collins said the at least 100 people who came out to celebrate his life shows he did not deserve to die like he did.
"Everybody loved my nephew," he said. "He was 16 — he may have been chasing girls and stuff. But he wasn't running with no gun."
The vigil was attended by friends and family as well as protesters and activists who have shown out to other demonstrations against police use of lethal force.
At times the groups spoke over each other with megaphones. Eventually the groups split up, with protesters walking to nearby Homan Square, the so-called Chicago Police "black site" where arrestees have been detained.
"They cannot be judge, jury and executioner," activist Eric Russell said. "They need to stop this reckless policing."
Janet Cooksey, whose son, Quintonio Legrier, was fatally shot by police in December 2015, said police need to be more transparent in these incidents.
"The one thing I asked the mayor is to have no other mother go through that," she said. "I look around. This shows [Pierre] was a good child."
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