Christopher Middleton case: Family of man shot by off-duty officer seeks justice

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CHICAGO – Many parents agree that it would be difficult to attend their child’s funeral. Blanca Winters, 47, of Chicago, said it was “a shocking moment” when she heard that her 26-year-old son Christopher Middleton was shot dead following an altercation sparked after a police officer’s motorcycle skidded into his daughter.

Winters now plans to take legal action following the incident that ended her son’s life.

“I don’t understand why [the off-duty officer] actually shot my son and killed him,” Winters said. “After he was trying to protect his daughter,” she asked.

When Middleton’s fiancée phoned Winters about the shooting, “I actually broke down,” she said. “I’m going to hire me an attorney…because this is actually a wrongful death. He had no business shooting my son.”

Winters didn’t detail the exact course of legal action she’d take, but said she wanted to pursue “everything that’s possible that can be done to [the officer].” Additionally, she’s requesting an autopsy. “The autopsy report’s going to tell it all,” said Winters.

As an off-duty police officer drove his motorcycle down the 1100 block of 1st Avenue in Maywood on Aug. 11 around 10 p.m., he allegedly saw 4-year-old Taniyah Middleton dart into the street. Reports said the unnamed 8-year veteran officer ditched his bike to avoid hitting Taniyah and her cousin, who she was crossing the street with.  According to authorities, the bike slid into the girl, but she survived the accident.

Shortly after, Taniyah’s father, Middleton, came out of a nearby restaurant in a rage and began beating the officer. Reports said after 18-year-old John Passley, Taniyah’s cousin, who was crossing the street with her, joined in the attack by kicking the officer, the officer fired his gun, shooting Middleton in the groin. Middleton was later pronounced dead at Loyola University Medical Center, while Taniyah and the officer were treated for abrasions and contusions. Passley was charged on Monday with one count each of aggravated battery to a police officer and aggravated battery on a public way, according to NBC 5 Chicago.

Family members say Middleton’s rage was understandable. “Any parents, mother, father, you know, will go crazy over their kids,” said Winters.

Terrance Flowers, 47, who lives just steps from where the incident happened, said, “I heard the shots, but I didn’t come right out.” The area experiences crime regularly, he said, so “I didn’t pay any attention to it. It happens every weekend.” Flowers added, “Then I went outside and saw [Middleton] laying in the street.”

Conflicting reports have sprung up about whether or not the officer identified himself before he drew his weapon.