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Attorneys for the man with Adam Toledo when he was shot by police say it’s unclear who fired the gun, leading officers to the scene

Adam Toledo, not Ruben Roman, may have fired a gun in Little Village before 13-year-old Toledo was shot by a Chicago police officer in a shooting that has shaken the city and drawn increased attention to the department’s handling of foot chases, lawyers argued Thursday. .

Prosecutors say before Toledo was killed by Officer Eric Stillman, Roman, 23, fired a gun at a passing car in the 2400 block of South Sawyer Avenue, triggering a ShotSpotter and calling police to the intersection.

But Romano’s public defender, Karin Talwar, argued that evidence presented during her client’s trial this week did not reveal who actually fired the gun that set off the automated alarm.

“Even in light of all of this evidence, it’s not enough to show that Ruben Roman actually owned or fired a weapon,” Talwar said. “There is evidence for another possible theory.”

A body camera image of Officer Eric Stillman with his gun drawn shows him chasing Adam Toledo down an alley.

Defense attorneys made closing arguments Thursday afternoon at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse after testimony began a day earlier. Roman is charged with three felony counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and one felony count of reckless discharge of a firearm, charges unrelated to Toledo’s death, but rather stemming from his alleged actions while he was with the teenager just before shooting.

Roman is on trial before Cook County Circuit Judge Charles Burns, who said he will rule on Friday. Burns heard from several witnesses on Wednesday, including partner Stillman.

Prosecutors argued that Romano’s surveillance video showed him firing a gun at a passing car. The gloves Roman dropped later tested positive for gunshot residue, prosecutors said.

Roman’s public defenders do not support direct evidence pointing the finger at Roman. They told the judge that no witness saw Roman with a gun or gloves.

In her closing argument, Talwar said the surveillance video submitted as evidence did not clearly show the faces or even the ethnicity, gender or other characteristics of those depicted.

Assistant State’s Attorney John Henning countered that videos from a nearby church and school distinguish Roman from Toledo by their clothing, with Roman in a beige jacket and Toledo in a darker outfit. Henning said Roman, wearing a beige jacket, was caught on video shooting.

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Body camera video and officers’ testimony later identified Roman as the man in the beige jacket, he said.

“The defense wants to say that circumstantial evidence is not evidence, but it is,” Henning said. “The defendant is the person you see in the church and school video.”

Officer Corina Gallegos took the stand Wednesday and described how she and Stillman responded to the corner of 24th Street and Sawyer Avenue in Little Village because of a ShotSpotter alert of shots fired. The two were driving until they spotted Roman and Toledo in an alley.

Gallegos said she handcuffed Roman while Stillman chased Toledo.

Toledo’s death sparked public protests and anger and led to increased scrutiny of the Police Department’s policy on when and how officers should engage in chases. Video released after the shooting showed Toledo throwing the gun over a fence before turning around and raising his hands.

When Cook County District Attorney Kim Fox announced her office would not charge Stillman in the death, she said the actions happened “almost simultaneously.”



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