This story was last updated at 4:37 p.m.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the man shot and killed by police Wednesday night outside Jimmy John’s, 350 Circle Ave., as 35-year-old Tony Smith, of Forest Park. According to the medical examiner report, Smith died of multiple gunshot wounds.
The Illinois State Police Integrity Task Force is investigating the shooting, which occurred on March 24 at about 7:50 p.m.
Both a patrol sergeant and patrol officer fired at Smith, who was holding a gun outside Jimmy John’s, 350 Circle Ave., according to a press release from the Forest Park Police Department. Part of the Illinois State Police investigation is to determine whether Smith first fired at the police officers.
According to the police press release, officers were called to Jimmy John’s after a man entered the restaurant and dropped a pistol on the floor.
That person, now identified to be Smith, reportedly then began waving the gun around and saying, “Please don’t make me do this now” before walking out of the restaurant with the gun in his hand.
According to a police report, “Officers arrived and made contact with the subject. Shots were fired.”
Officers reportedly performed lifesaving measures until paramedics arrived and transported the man to Loyola University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:23 p.m.
No officers were physically injured. The two officers involved directly in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave.
According to reports obtained from Forest Park police, Smith was known along Madison Street and had been involved in prior incidents at bars on the street.
The night before he was shot, police had removed Smith from Duffy’s, 7513 Madison St., after he allegedly trying to start a fight with other patrons. A Review reporter was at the bar when the incident occurred and witnessed Smith, who had with him a live reptile wrapped in a towel, yelling at another bar patron, repeatedly telling him to go outside so they could fight, and calling him names. Smith refused to leave the bar until police arrived. Officers were seen talking to Smith outside the bar, one of them holding his reptile, which appeared to be a bearded dragon, and stroking it on its head.
Smith has been involved in altercations with police in the past. In addition to the incident March 23 at Duffy’s Tavern, there are at least two more police reports involving Smith over the course of the past year.
In March 2020, he was charged with aggravated assault and unlawful use of a weapon after a woman reported that Smith, with whom she’d had previous encounters, approached her and another resident in the 200 block of Circle Avenue.
After a verbal exchange, Smith allegedly pulled out a knife and pointed it at her and the person with whom she was speaking. She reported backing up, and he continued to approach, saying, “Man, I’ll ****ing kill you.”
When police later located Smith, the police report states the responding officer “immediately recognized [Smith] from previous encounters” including a “previous experience with Smith carrying knives on his person while intoxicated.”
Smith was reportedly holding a large knife when the reporting officer got out of his squad car. At gunpoint, the officer ordered Smith to drop the knife, but instead Smith allegedly raised it up and to the side. Eventually Smith dropped the knife, according to the report, and the arresting officer reported finding another knife on Smith’s person after handcuffing him.
On Aug. 4, 2020, police again charged Smith with aggravated assault after he allegedly threatened people inside Short Stop Lounge, 7400 Madison St. A bar employee said Smith had come in and was trying to hug patrons, despite their rebuffs.
Smith refused to practice social distancing and was asked by an employee to leave, at which point he allegedly pulled out a knife, pointing it in the employee’s direction.
According to the police report, a witness said that when police were called, Smith pulled out a second knife and left both on a barstool, saying, “I don’t need these knives” before exiting the bar.
Officers located Smith outside the bar, where he allegedly became belligerent, yelling at the police and using obscenities. The police report says that the responding officer recognized Smith “from numerous prior contacts” and was known “to carry multiple knives on his person.”
Mayor Rory Hoskins, who plans to post a recorded message on the village’s Facebook page regarding the March 24 shooting, gave a statement to the Review.
“The village of Forest Park regrets any loss of life and we’re saddened that a village resident, in possession of a gun, was fatally shot by our officers. We want residents and businesspeople here to feel safe. We will increase the police presence on Madison Street, and we are exploring whether we can hire part-time police officers to supplement our existing force.”