The Chicago police officer who shot and killed a mother of five and a distraught teen wielding a baseball bat in the early hours after Christmas has now been identified. A Reader analysis of internal police records and scanner audio from the day of the incident point to Robert Rialmo as the officer who fatally shot Bettie Jones, 55, and Quintonio LeGrier, 19, on December 26.
Rialmo’s presence at the scene of the double shooting is confirmed by a Chicago Police Department Attendance and Assignment sheet—obtained through a joint Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Reader and police accountability activist Freddy Martinez—and by scanner audio from the frequency used by officers working in District 11, the police district where the shooting took place.
CPD uses Attendance and Assignment sheets like scheduling logs—to track which officers are working when and where. These logs also track whether officers are present at the scheduled start of their shifts.
Scanner audio from the morning of the shooting, obtained from publicly available District 11 archives, includes multiple references to police beat 1172R—or 1172 Robert—including the initial call of “shots fired” in that beat.
According to the scheduling logs obtained by the Reader, Rialmo was assigned to work an overnight shift in beat 1172R beginning at 10:30 PM on December 26.
Two former high-ranking Chicago police officials, who spoke with the Reader on the condition that we not use their names, reviewed the documents and scanner audio and also concluded that Rialmo was the officer responsible for the shooting.
Officers who work overnight shifts sign in on the day that the majority of their work will take place, the former officials said. To untrained eyes it might appear as if Rialmo signed in on the 26th; he actually did so 24 hours earlier, on the 25th, the former police officials explained. Rialmo then worked past midnight and into the morning of the 26th, when he had his fatal encounter with Jones and LeGrier.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department does not release names of officers involved in shootings. However, Guglielmi also said only one officer fired his weapon and that the officer was not Rialmo’s partner, who was also on the scene at the time of the shooting.
The scanner audio provides a more complete story of what happened that morning.
About 4:30 AM Rialmo and his partner were called to the 4700 block of West Erie Street on a domestic disturbance call. There, Rialmo and his partner encountered LeGrier and Jones.
LeGrier was combative and carrying a baseball bat, according to police. Jones, who was standing inside the building, was accidentally shot, police have said.
As the situation devolved, Rialmo’s partner can be heard reporting a call of shots fired to a dispatcher at 4:44 AM.
“Shots fired out here,” he said as gunshots rang out in the background. “Shots fired, shots fired, shots fired!”
A dispatcher then asked, “What unit and where are you?”
“1172, my partner . . . ” he said before trailing off and giving the pair’s exact location.
LeGrier was visiting his father, Antonio LeGrier, in a building that shares an entrance with Jones’s apartment. Antonio called police when his son became upset and banged on his father’s bedroom door with a baseball bat, Antonio has said.
Antonio asked Jones to answer the door when police arrived, a lawsuit filed by her family states.
After police knocked on the common entrance door, Jones responded and “faced a hail of bullets,” according to the lawsuit.
The family’s attorneys contend that the officer who shot Jones was standing far away from the door when he fired into the hallway, where LeGrier was also struck by the officer’s bullets.
As LeGrier lay dying in the hallway, Antonio attempted to console his son, but was removed by police, according to a lawsuit Antonio filed.
While this version of events is now being investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority, Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez’s office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, on the morning of December 26 the only thing officers and dispatchers knew was what Rialmo or his partner reported as the event unfolded.
“Female black hit,” one of the officers relayed to dispatch.
“All right, and 1172 Robert is there shots fired by police?” a dispatcher asked.
“We got two down, two down,” Rialmo or his partner replied.
Once a dispatcher confirmed it was Rialmo or his partner who fired the shots, she checked on the condition of the two men.
“Ten-four, we do have an ambulance en route, but you are OK, correct?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yeah, we’re good,” one of the officers replied before urging the ambulances to make haste.
“Fuckin’ step up on the cars and ambo right now,” he told dispatchers.
As other officers and paramedics began to arrive, the dispatcher made one last request before the frequency went quiet.
“Units, clear the way for the ambulance, clear the way for the ambulance.”
Both Jones and LeGrier died at the hospital later that day.
Read an excerpted version of the scheduling logs below. Rialmo’s entry can be seen near the top of the third PDF, marked in the log as page 5.