CHICAGO (CBS) — Funeral services were held Wednesday morning for a 55-year-old woman who was accidentally shot and killed by a Chicago police officer the day after Christmas.
A celebration of Bettie Jones’ life got underway late Wednesday morning at New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.
Jones’ family said the mother of five and grandmother of nine was the glue that held them together until she became the victim of a deadly police shooting.
Jones had just opened her apartment building door for officers responding to a domestic disturbance call from her neighbor on December 26, 2015, when police opened fire on 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, killing him, and accidentally killing Jones in the process.
Police said LeGrier was armed with a baseball bat when he was killed. His father had called 911 to report his son was threatening him, and asked Jones to open the door for the police when officers arrived.
Jones’ loved ones and supporters said she died carrying out the commandment to be a good neighbor.
“They’re just having a tough time just processing how their mother can be ripped from them just by virtue of simply opening her front door; and to add insult to injury, how she could be gunned down in a hail of bullets by the very people that were sworn to protect her,” said Jones family spokesman Eric Russell.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports it was a funeral celebrating the life of a 55-year-old mother of five and grandmother of nine as family said their final goodbyes.
“Her life got taken away for helping the city,” said daughter La Toya Jones. “she didn’t have nothing to do with nothing and now we hurt right now, we’re crying.”
“We don’t need to be getting into it with one another, we need to be trying to join one another to get them to respect us,” said daughter Latasha Jones.
Jones was eulogized today as a Good Samaritan.
“Not only does a good neighbor have a compassionate heart and it is costly but finally it requires courage,” said Rev. Marshall Hatch of Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church.
And championed as well as a martyr for change.
“The light of your mother will continue to shine,” said Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin. “It will shine as we transform our police department in this city.”
Before the service, there was an hour-long visitation, were family and friends had a chance to say goodbye to a woman whose Christmas wish was to unite the family. No one could have foreseen that her death would end up being the catalyst for that reunion.
“We need to talk about that God has a master plan, and so the blood of the innocent – I think – speaks loudly to the dysfunctional relationship between the police and this community,” Rev. Marshall Hatch said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was not at Jones’ funeral, but did call her family in the wake of the shooting, and the family expressed their appreciation for that, thanking him for his support in their time of need in a program handed out to mourners at the funeral.