Watch CBS News

16-year-old boy charged, detained in murder of retired police officer on Chicago's West Side

Teen ordered detained in murder of retired Chicago Police officer
Teen ordered detained in murder of retired Chicago Police officer 03:00

CHICAGO (CBS) — Police Monday evening announced a 16-year-old boy has been charged in the murder of a retired police officer on the city's West Side last week.

Lazarius Watt is charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the shooting that killed retired Officer Larry Neuman, 73. A judge ordered Watt detained on Tuesday, and he is to return to court on July 16 for a preliminary hearing in Violence Court (Br. 66).

Another wanted person remains at large.

Watt showed virtually no emotion during the hour-long bond hearing.

But prosecutors laid out some new details in their case—saying Watt never should have been on the street last week, since he was supposed to be on home confinement for another, unrelated case.

Neuman was shot around 11:30 a.m. Thursday in the 4300 block of West Monroe Street in West Garfield Park, police said.  Neighbors said they heard five or six shots.

Thursday, Neuman was mowing his lawn with the help of a worker. When they finished cutting the grass, Neuman was approaching the worker to pay him, prosecutors said.

As they stood together, Neuman told the worker there were two people walking up who had just put on ski masks behind a car, prosecutors said. The worker saw a larger person—later determined to be the second suspected shooter who remains at large, and a smaller person—later determined to be Watt, prosecutors said.

Both Watt and the other person had guns, prosecutors said. Police said they had been waiting for him to step outside.

The second assailant approached Neuman and was only feet away when he said, "Freeze!" and reached to grab Neuman, prosecutors said.

Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Antoinette Ursitti said Neuman pushed the worker out of the way as the attackers approached.

"[Neuman] pushed this person to safety and put his own life on the line even at age 73," said Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling.

Neuman backed up and reached for his own gun, while the shooter still at large shot Neuman, prosecutors said.

As the lawn worker ran to escape, he saw Watt aim his gun at Neuman too, prosecutors said. Neuman did fire a single round for his own gun, but fell to the ground, prosecutors said.

The lawn worker hopped over a fence, while the two shooters ran down an alley, prosecutors said.

Neuman's wife was in the house while he was mowing the lawn, prosecutors said. She heard loud noises, and came outside to see her husband lying on the ground, prosecutors said.

Police were called and rushed to the scene, prosecutors said. They saw Neuman lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds—including to his chest and leg, prosecutors said.

Neuman died of his injuries.

Officers recovered Neuman's own .40-caliber firearm, four 9mm shell casings, and one 40mm shell casing, prosecutors said. The shell casings were sent to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for analysis.

Meanwhile, police recovered video from numerous surveillance cameras in the area that captured Watt and the other suspected shooter walking from Neuman's house and throughout the neighborhood, prosecutors said. As they walked toward the area of Neuman's house, Watt—a few inches shorter than the other suspected shooter—was spotted wearing a black jacket with white stripes running down the sleeves, black pants, and red-shaded Nike gym shoes, prosecutors said.

The other suspected shooter was seen wearing a black hooded sweat shirt with a distinguishing design on the back, black pants, and red-shared Nike gym shoes like Watt's, prosecutors said.

HOMICIDE | 4300 Block West Monroe St. | 6/20/2024 | RD# JH313876 by Chicago Police on YouTube

At several points as they were waling around, both suspected shooters' clothes and faces were visible, and their front pockets seemed to be weighed down inside, prosecutors said. The shooting itself was also captured on video from a distance that was too far away to capture specific details, prosecutors said.

But numerous tips came in from the community about the identity of the attackers, Snelling said. Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) said he heard even from people now living in California who previously lived in West Garfield Park.

Authorities also heard from a witness rode his bike past Neuman's house right before the shooting, and saw Neuman with another man at the back of the lot next to a house by the alley, prosecutors said. Neuman and the witness exchanged pleasantries, and then the witness rode away on his bike, prosecutors said.

As the witness passed the mouth of the alley, he saw two people exiting the alley—one of whom he recognized as Watt, whom he knew from the neighborhood, prosecutors said. The witness then heard gunfire and saw Watt and the other suspected shooter fleeing back down the alley, prosecutors said.

This witness identified Watt in a lineup, prosecutors said.

A neighbor in the area was sitting on his front porch when he heard the gunshots, and then saw two men running away through a vacant lot, prosecutors said.

Four different people who are very familiar with Watt from the neighborhood and a school where he had gone also identified him in multiple surveillance videos, prosecutors said.

Watt went on to surrender at Harrison Area Police Headquarters, 3151 W. Harrison St.

"The community assistance in this case was instrumental in the investigation," said Ursitti. "The evidence they provided helped detectives quickly secure against this 16-year-old offender."

Watt was also charged as a juvenile as one of two people who carjacked a 2023 Volkswagen Atlas in March. The people in the vehicle ranged in age from 10 to 63, prosecutors said.

The state said Watt had initially been given electronic monitoring in the carjacking case, though that was revoked after six violations in seven months. A judge then gave Watt home confinement.

Watt's family silent as they left the courthouse. His mother wore a black headwrap and sunglasses, and avoided cameras just moments after the hearing. But she did say this was the first time she had seen her son since she encouraged him to turn himself in.

Watt will be back in juvenile court to face charges in another case—a high-speed pursuit and crash on the Eisenhower Expressway in March. Police said Watt was driving a stolen car, and they found a gun inside.

In the case of Neuman's murder, it was not believed that Watt and Neuman knew each other, and no motive has been given.

Boy, 16, charged in shooting that killed retired Chicago Police officer 21:47

Larry Neuman: Retired officer, pastor, and pillar of the community

On Sunday, the community rallied and marched to bring awareness to the retired officer, veteran, and pastor. He was killed by the very kind of violence he spent his career and years of retirement trying to prevent.

Neuman also leaves behind a wife, children, and grandchildren.

Snelling noted at a news conference that Neuman was a U.S. Marine veteran and had been the longest-serving explosives technician with the Chicago Police Department when he retired. But at 73, Neuman still had so much to give his community.

He became a pastor who was outspoken about violence in Chicago neighborhoods, working with young people to create a safe environment.

"Larry's life was taken from him by the very people he committed his life to help," Snelling said.

At the news conference Monday night, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx emphasized the tragedies involved on multiple levels in recent high-profile crimes. She pointed out that 16-year-old boys now stand charged both in Neuman's murder, and the shooting that killed 7-year-old Jai'mani Amir Rivera on the Near West Side last week.

"Last week it was a child. Today's it's an elder," Foxx said, "and the common thread is other children taking their lives."

Teen charged, second suspect wanted in murder of retired CPD officer 02:29

Foxx and top CPD brass are all determined to address the troubling theme of teens with guns, committing so many murders.

"Today's armed robber who's 13, 14 years old is tomorrow's murderer at 15, 16 years old," said Snelling. "So there has to be some early intervention."

The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives earlier announced rewards of $25,000 each for information leading to an arrest in Neuman's murder —for a total reward of $75,000. A reward remains in effect for information leading to the arrest of the second suspected shooter.

Anyone with information about the incident or the remaining suspect is asked to call Area 4 detectives at 312-746-8252. Anonymous Tips can be submitted to

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.