Homicide

Family of Chicago officer charged with murder breaks silence

FILE - In this May 5, 2016, file photo, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, charged with first-degree murder in the October 2014 shooting death of a black teenager, sits in court for a hearing in his case in Chicago. Van Dyke's family, with the officer's approval, has spoken out publicly for the first time since he was charged with murder in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Van Dyke followed his attorney's advice in declining to be interviewed himself. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

FILE - In this May 5, 2016, file photo, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, charged with first-degree murder in the October 2014 shooting death of a black teenager, sits in court for a hearing in his case in Chicago. Van Dyke's family, with the officer's approval, has spoken out publicly for the first time since he was charged with murder in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Van Dyke followed his attorney's advice in declining to be interviewed himself. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

The family of a white Chicago police officer shot a black teenager 16 times has spoken about it publicly for the first time since he was charged with murder.

The wife, father and other relatives of Jason Van Dyke spoke to the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1VVzEOs ) with the officer's approval, though Van Dyke followed his attorney's advice in declining to be interviewed himself.

They describe Van Dyke as a caring father who dotes on his two daughters. A brother-in-law who is black says it's unfair to assume the teen's race influenced Van Dyke's decision to use deadly force.

His wife, Tiffany, says Van Dyke became an officer with hopes of making a difference. But she says years working in high-crime areas sapped his optimism and left him emotionally closed-off.