USviewer: The decision brought an end to a case that raised questions about training and the use of force by Chicago police, and one that came at the height of public outcry about other police shootings here.
The Cook County state’s attorney’s office said it found insufficient evidence to prove that Robert Rialmo, the police officer, was not legally justified in the shooting in the early-morning hours of Dec. 26, 2015, at a home on this city’s West Side.
Officer Rialmo was responding to 911 calls from the home when he shot and killed Quintonio LeGrier, a college student, as well as a neighbor, Bettie Jones, who had merely answered the front door for the police.
In a memo, prosecutors said that Mr. LeGrier had moved toward Officer Rialmo with an aluminum baseball bat over his head in a threatening manner, and that a bat, under Illinois law, may be considered a deadly weapon.
If Officer Rialmo was legally justified in firing at Mr. LeGrier, the prosecutors said, he also could not be held criminally liable for the death of Ms. Jones, even though she was a bystander.
The shooting occurred at the height of scrutiny over police conduct in this city, not long after the Justice Department announced it would investigate police practices here, and after Chicago officials had been ordered to release video in the shooting of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a white police officer.
The deaths of Ms. Jones and Mr. LeGrier had rekindled anger among activists, and had called attention to the way the police respond to situations involving people in mental or emotional distress.
Mr. LeGrier had experienced emotional problems in the months before his death, family members said, and had himself placed three 911 calls to the police that night, reporting, at points, that someone was trying to kill him.
Family members of the dead expressed outrage on Friday at the decision. Basileios J. Foutris, a lawyer for the LeGrier family, called the decision “more of the same,” with one law enforcement agency protecting another.
“He called for help — to get shot?” Janet Cooksey, Mr. LeGrier’s mother, said at a news conference. “I don’t understand that. I have no words for that. And yet this cop is not going to jail? He’s still on the force? I don’t understand the society that we live in today.”
Latisha Jones, a daughter of Ms. Jones’s, said that her mother was “an innocent woman and she did no wrong,” and recalled sharing Christmas dinner with her hours before her death.
“He took a great woman from us that we can never get back,” Latisha Jones said. “The only thing we have is memories and pictures on T-shirts.”
Both families have filed civil lawsuits in the case.
“Bettie Jones was at her home, she was in her house,” said Larry R. Rogers Jr., a lawyer for the Jones family. “She was doing everything right that day.”
Officer Rialmo is on administrative duty at the Police Department, officials said, as an investigation continues into whether he violated department procedures.
But Joel A. Brodsky, a lawyer for Officer Rialmo, said that prosecutors made “the right decision,” that his client had faced “a life-threatening attack” and that he expected him to eventually return to patrol.
“He had no choice but to discharge his weapon in order to save his life and potentially that of his partner, and that’s what he did,” Mr. Brodsky said. “He feels horrible about having to do that. And what compounds it is the tragedy that an innocent person was killed.”
After the shooting, Officer Rialmo sued Mr. LeGrier’s estate, claiming emotional trauma for Ms. Jones’s death, and then sued the city for what he claimed was inadequate training.
The charging decision was issued by Eric Sussman, an assistant prosecutor, rather than Kim Foxx, the Cook County state’s attorney, who was elected last fall to replace a longtime incumbent who was heavily criticized for her handling of police conduct cases.
Ms. Foxx previously worked for a law firm that represents the estate of Ms. Jones, her office said, so she played no role in reviewing Officer Rialmo’s case or in the final decision not to bring charges.