CHICAGO (CBS) — A mother who heard the sounds of the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo just a few houses away from her home says she now wishes she had done more.
Nakia Smith said she was wondering what the commotion was.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Showers By Daybreak
“I was watching TV just in the living room,” she said.
As people across the country turn their eyes to the newly released video of the alley where the teen took his last breath, Smith is fielding calls left and right.
“Like ‘Isn’t that where you live at?'” she said. “Yes, right behind my house.”
The overnight hours of March 29 in Little Village, now under national spotlight, are ones that haunt her.
“I heard a few gunshots,” she said. “I looked out the window because I kept seeing the blue lights.”
Soon after the gunshots that brought police to the area in the first place via a ShotSpotter alert, she remembers hearing running and a car flying through the alley behind her house.
“And we heard a gunshot,” she said. “One.”
It was in her backyard, but it would be days before she learned that the scuffle was the sound of the foot pursuit between a Chicago police officer and Adam, and that the gunshot she heard was the moment Adam died.READ MORE: Oak Lawn Woman Got Locked Out Of Her Facebook Business Account, And Even Facebook Can't Be Sure If The Email To Blame Was A Scam
“I cried my heart out, because all I could think about was, ‘Damn, my son is 13,'” she said.
She said her son used to play with Adam in a nearby field — football, soccer, and kid stuff.
“When all of those young men were playing, I’ve seen three of them change their whole perspective,” she said. “One day you see them with their soccer jersey on. The next day you se them in colors … gang colors.”
CBS 2 asked Smith how often gangs made their presence known in the neighborhood, and if she thought people were concerned.
“It depends on the person,” she started to say before pausing to turn her head. “You hear them?”
We nod as we listen to short bursts of song-like whistling from the next street over.
“That’s Latin Kings,” she says.
It’s a signal this mother has a trained ear for — the same ear that heard those gunshots weeks ago she won’t soon forget.
“I kind of feel bad that, at the time, I didn’t really care what was going on,” she said. “To find out it was a 13-year-old boy, it’s been a sick feeling ever since then.”MORE NEWS: They Had A Tough Year Of E-Learning, But Southland College Prep Seniors Have Now Racked Up More Than $50 Million In Combined Merit Scholarships
She says that sick feeling only got worse when she saw glimpses of those body camera videos released just Thursday, but adds the videos are also the key to understanding what went wrong and where we go from here.