A Joliet officer fatally shoots an armed gunman, Jamal Smith, at an domestic disturbance call
Two Joliet police officers, partners Erick Gutierrez and Christopher McClinton, are back on regular duty months after shooting domestic violence suspect and gunman Jamal Smith at the Lois Place apartments during the early morning hours of April 8. In August, Smith, 31, died of his gunshot wounds.
Plainfield Police Commander Kevin McQuaid, who just took over as the new chairman of the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force, told Joliet Patch on Friday that Smith never regained his cognitive abilities to make a statement to police. McQuaid also pointed out the two Joliet officers were summoned to the domestic disturbance and all they knew at the time was the building where it happened, they did not know Smith's name or the names of the people involved.
This week, Joliet's Police Department provided Joliet Patch with the body camera footage of both officers, complying with Joliet Patch's Freedom of Information Act request seeking access to the police videos of the shooting.
McClinton joined the Joliet police force last September, while Gutierrez was sworn in as Joliet police in January 2020.
The Joliet police body camera footage can be seen at the bottom of this article. The video may be disturbing to some viewers.
In the body camera videos of McClinton and Gutierrez, the officers sped to the Lois Place apartments around 4:50 a.m. to investigate a domestic incident. After they pulled into the parking lot, McClinton and Gutierrez began walking toward the apartment building off in the distance.
As they walk closer along the sidewalk, Smith starts yelling in the distance, "You called the police?" In the video, as Smith stands outside the apartment building entrance, he can be heard firing his gun at least two times. Gutierrez and McClinton open fire on Smith, shooting him in the back of the neck and also in his leg.
When Smith is shot, the video shows his gun fall out of his hand and land on the concrete stoop just a few feet away from his body. For several minutes, numerous Joliet police officers, led by Gutierrez taking charge, provide emergency medical attention to Smith, as they wait for the Joliet Fire Department ambulance crew to arrive.
When Joliet Police Sgt. Matt Breen, a supervisor, got to the scene, Gutierrez informs him "we are" the officers who shot the gunman.
"Yeah, he came out, and he started firing rounds that way," Gutierrez explained.
Gutierrez said they didn't know if Smith may have shot somebody in the direction Smith was shooting, which was west.
"Yeah, make sure nobody's shot over there," Gutierrez informs Sgt. Breen. "He was shooting west."
Gutierrez explained how he heard Smith yelling at someone for calling the police, and then Smith "started firing rounds out that way."
Gutierrez also told Sgt. Breen he and McClinton were next to each other, and they saw Smith standing outside the building shooting at someone.
"So we drew our weapons and said 'Drop your gun' and shot," Gutierrez explained.
"OK, you're good," Breen replied.
On Friday, McQuaid said the Will County State's Attorney's Office is still reviewing the Joliet police shooting and has not announced a final decision on the case. McQuaid said there are thousands of pages of new medical reports in connection with Smith's injuries and care during the past several months.
On Aug. 9, four months after Jamal Smith was shot in the neck, leaving him gravely wounded, he died at a Cook County hospital. Back in April, Patch reported Smith was airlifted to the Loyola Medical Center in Maywood.
According to McQuaid, the investigation determined that Smith was shooting his gun in the direction of the woman who he accused of calling the Joliet police, in reference to the domestic disturbance.
As for McClinton and Gutierrez, the two Joliet officers were put on administrative paid leave immediately after the shooting, which is standard practice.
Both Joliet police officers were cleared to return to regular active duty on May 21, Joliet Patch learned through the Freedom of Information Act.