(NBC News) – Tonight, “Dateline” explores policing in America and why homicides involving Black victims are less likely to be solved. The special follows Shapearl Wells’s journey to find answers after her son, Courtney Copeland, was shot and killed in Chicago.
During the one-hour broadcast, Wells opens up about her son’s murder, as well as her podcast “Somebody,” which documented her investigation into whether Chicago police detectives did enough to try to solve the case.
Here’s a preview of Josh Mankiewicz’s report:
SHAPEARL WELLS: AROUND 2:00 A.M., I HEAR THIS THUNDEROUS BEAT AT MY DOOR.
Police shone their flashlights through the windows. And what followed was terrifying news. Her 22-year old son Courtney was in the hospital but she says they didn’t tell her why.
SHAPEARL WELLS: I REMEMBER FALLING TO THE FLOOR, BECAUSE–
JOSH MANKIEWICZ: BECAUSE IF HE’S IN THERE WITH A BROKEN LEG, THEY’RE GONNA TELL YOU THAT.
SHAPEARL WELLS: YES. SO, I KNEW THAT THIS MUST BE BAD.
Her first thought was an accident. Courtney was well known for texting, dancing, Snapchatting while behind the wheel of his beloved BMW.
At the hospital, the family was taken not to see Courtney, but to a room with chairs and Kleenex.
Claressa Hawkins was one of the nurses.
NURSE, CLARESSA HAWKINS: I JUST REMEMBER– SHAPEARL JUST, LIKE, KINDA, LIKE, IMMEDIATE STARTS SHAKING
Finally, the doctor came in.
SHAPEARL WELLS AND, SO, HE SAID THAT MY SON HAD ARRIVED WITH A GUNSHOT WOUND
Shot in the back. Killed by a bullet through his heart.
NURSE, CLARESSA HAWKINS: I REMEMBER GRABBING HER AND HOLDIN’ HER HAND AND HUGGIN’ HER.
SHAPEARL WELLS: AND I REMEMBER US ALL PROCLAIMING, “WHO SHOT HIM?” BECAUSE THAT WAS THE FURTHEST THING FROM MY MIND THAT MY SON WAS SHOT AND KILLED.
JOSH MANKIEWICZ: SEEING HIM HAD TO BE THE HARDEST THING YOU’VE EVER GONE THROUGH.
SHAPEARL WELLS: IT WAS. IT WAS. I REMEMBER TELLING HIM, “I’M SO SORRY MOMMY WASN’T THERE FOR YOU. I COULD IMAGINE HOW YOU FELT SO SCARED. I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU.”
In that instant, Shapearl made a promise to herself and her son. She would do everything she could to find out what happened. And nothing was going to stop her.
This “Dateline” report is part of NBC’s special series, “Future of the Force.” Watch Friday’s “Dateline” tonight at 10 p.m. on 22News.