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“No, it’s just fireworks!” Chicago cop opens fire on child with fireworks after ShotSpotter gunshot alert

Body-worn camera footage of the January 25 incident in Gresham was released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability today. 

by Jinx Press Collective and People's Fabric Feb 27, 2024

Ring camera footage of the child with a basketball fired upon by Chicago Police.

A Chicago Police officer responding to a ShotSpotter alert fired shots at a child who was playing with fireworks—that’s the conclusion from the Civilian Office of Police Accountability in a statement released today.

“COPA can confirm that a firearm was not used against the officers,” said COPA First Deputy Chief Administrator, Ephraim Eaddy.

CPD initially identified the child as a man, claiming he had opened fire first.

They also reported seeing “flashes of light.”

“When officers arrived in the area, they observed an individual, who has now been identified as a juvenile, standing near a residence. As one officer exited the vehicle, they heard a loud bang, which was later determined to be fireworks. The officer who exited the vehicle discharged their firearm in the direction of the juvenile, who was not struck by gunfire,” investigators state in the press release about the incident.

Body-worn camera footage from the three officers responding to the ShotSpotter alert appears to show one officer immediately fire his gun after hearing a loud bang. 

He then yells, “Shots fired! Shots fired!” as another officer radios in a “10-1,” indicating officers are in need of urgent assistance.


After the incident, police filed a case report stating an aggravated assault on an officer with a handgun had occurred.

Video obtained from security cameras around the residence shows a child with a ball lighting fireworks in the driveway.

After the police officer fires, the child runs towards police, shouting, “No, it’s just fireworks! It’s just fireworks!”


This report verifies preliminary dispatch audio from that evening published by Jinx Press.

At 11:26pm, officers confirm to dispatchers none of them have been injured. They do not report an officer firing his own weapon until 11:36pm.

Because of SoundThinking (formerly ShotSpotter)’s refusal to share internal data with outside researchers, no independent study has ever tested whether ShotSpotter audio devices can reliably distinguish between fireworks and gunfire—both rapid-fire sounds that also measure closely on the decibel (dB) scale used to indicate sound level. 

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson recently committed to canceling the city’s contract with SoundThinking. The city will be paying $8.6 million to extend the surveillance giant’s contract for another nine months.

COPA has posted additional video and audio from the incident on their website.

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