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Evanston Man, 20, Charged With Coleman Shooting

Evanston Police say Wesley A. Woodson III, 20, of Evanston, fatally shot Dajae Coleman, 14, after he mistook Coleman for someone he knew.

Police say a 20-year-old Evanston man fatally shot 14-year-old Dajae Coleman last Saturday, when he mistook the Evanston Township High School freshman and his friends for another group.

Wesley A. Woodson, III, of the 1700 block of Ashland Avenue in Evanston, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm, police announced in a press conference Friday. He was arrested on Wednesday, Sept. 27, appeared in bond court Friday morning and is currently being held without bond. 

“This was a retaliatory act upon an innocent group of teens with no gang affiliations,” Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott said at a press conference Friday afternoon. 

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According to Parrott, Coleman attended a large party on McDaniel Avenue before the shooting on Saturday night. The party was broken up by a parent when two girls started fighting around 10 p.m., and roughly 150 teens began walking east on Church Street toward Evanston Township High School.

Several groups started fighting, and one of those fights involved a person Woodson knew, Parrott said. Someone called Woodson to tell him about the fight, and Woodson started walking east from his home toward the 1500 block of Church Street, carrying a 9-millimeter gun.

When Woodson saw Dajae and his friends, he mistook the group for the group he knew, and fired four shots. Dajae and his friends started to run away, and as they were running, Dajae was shot in the back, police said. The bullet exited through his chest, and he died at the scene.

Police said Woodson was affiliated with the Gangster Disciples, a local street gang, and in the last six months he was the victim of a gunshot wound, but did not cooperate with police in the investigation.

“I am deeply sorry that his perpetrator is an Evanstonian,” Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said at the press conference.

Police Chief Richard Eddington said the arrest could not have been made without the help of the community. Officers from the Evanston Police Department began interviewing witnesses at the scene immediately after the incident. Several people told police they saw the shooting occur and identified Woodson as the killer, Parrott said.  

Police recovered four 9-millimeter shell casings on the ground near the scene, but have not yet found the gun, according to Parrott. No charges are currently being considered against the person who called Woodson that night.

“Senseless crimes of violence like this leave scars on the community that are difficult to heal even after many years,” said Police Chief Richard Eddington. “[Dajae’s] loss is profound not only for his family but for the entire community.”

A preliminary hearing is set for Woodson at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie.

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jkerr September 28, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Absolutely disgusting. Why does anyone need to possess a hand gun? Who is next?
Melanie September 28, 2012 at 08:38 PM
This is absolutely disturbing. When 150 teenagers are gathered anywhere or in this case a party, the police should have been called to disperse them. Anytime a large group gathers no matter what the event is, police should be called to maintain calm and order. 150 teenagers always make a lot of noise with or without supervision. The neighbors in the vicinity should have called the police if not the parents who hosted the party and subsequently sent them on their way believing that at some point the fight would not continue elsewhere. We as a community are responsible for this tragedy and need to be more vigilant, especially when it involves our children. It is irresponsible for us to turn our heads and close our eyes to what is going on right in our front yard. If you know your child is involved in a gang, GET HELP! There are many agencies and organizations in Evanston that will provide you with the help that you and your family need. Reach out to your neighbors if you believe they need help or assistance. It is also important to commend the person or persons who identified the shooter...it was an act of courage and bravery. We also need to keep our eyes and ears open for any retaliation that is likely to rear it's ugly face. We all need to be on alert.
Cherie September 28, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Not disgusting, heartbreaking, gutwrenching and sad because 2 young lives, 2 families, a entire community and society will never see what either could have contributed. There is a loss of possibiliy that affects the universe. All are involved,parents teachers coaches peers in the process of forming personalities that result in reasoning skills, coping skills, forgiveness, and looking for success. This is the action of someone who was missed in that formation. The loss is tragic and life changing. I don't think the youths that do such devastating crimes are aware of this. Before another tragic end to a young life happens, let us as the ones who are to mold these individuals take time to provide character building skills.
Tea September 28, 2012 at 09:09 PM
As always, KUDOS to the Evanston Police Department for a Job well done! My sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the beautiful people who aided the police in solving this crime. I pray that God continue to bless and protect our police officers and our community, and to keep all of us safe.
Jim September 28, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Walter Jacobsen recently sat with some Chicago gangbangers to get their take on violence. Before you get too optimistic, read what they said. Not good, guns or no guns.
Winnetka September 28, 2012 at 10:17 PM
While it was the firing of a gun by a local thug,that ended Dajae's life...his death walk began the minute the perp was allowed to skate on previous drug/assault/ weapons charges. What happened to Dajae is the fault of lax law enforcement. We have a legal system that placates, makes excuses for and gives a pass repeatedly to the lowlifes of the earth. There are far too many examples of innocent young lives being taken through the selfish acts of lowlifes in our society. These lowlifes are begotton by other lowlifes- a generational diorama of crime. What example is our lax crimminal system setting? That thugs can keep committing crimes w/out real consequences, which leads to an escalation in their crimminal behavior. Our crimminal justice system doesn't want to be responsble for them. They place more value on the bottom line of prison overcrowding vs the right of people to live in a civilized and safe environment. What about their responsibilty to protect and serve law abiding citizens by incarcerating crimminals when they BREAK THE LAW?! I applaud the community for working w/ police in coming forward to i.d. the perp. That took great courage and they should be honored for it. However, reality is that the perp will cop a plea in exchange for giving up some of his lowlife friends related to other cases and he'll maybe spend 15 yrs behind bars...just about the number of years Dajae spent on this earth. We need way more Dajae's and far less lowlifes.
Thekla September 28, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Well said.
Mike September 29, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Click on the link and watch a video of what is coming with in the year! A MUST WATCH VIDEO!!!! http://youtu.be/AQ6Q3BfbVBU Guns will be accessible to everyone with this technology.
Cherie September 29, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Responding to you in Winnetka. Your reaction rather out of anger or opinion, this class stratifaction of labeling as lowlife and thugs must stop. Someone in his life must have had goals for his future, I am sure he must have had them for himself, and is wasn't to be a murderer. The positive support had to have stopped and negative was easy to slide in. That kid was socially constructed. I can almost guarantee somewhere in his youth he was given the idea he was a thug, and he followed it. I agree we need many more Dajea's, but when we see the possibility that a kid is opposite of what Dajea was, any one that crossed paths with him in life has a duty and responsibility to motivate as much as possible towards a successful ending. ..it is now that we must be that village
annie September 29, 2012 at 01:54 AM
I wonder why someone who was charged with "unlawful use of a weapon" (a gun) gets the charges dropped in July. How does that work? Prior charges, shoplifting, drug possession, alcohol, all warning signs of things yet to come. In the beginning, underage drinking, drug possession, shoplifting might not seem like a big deal. A lot of kids do that. But a lot of kids, don't carry a gun. And waving around a gun and no consequences? That bothers me a lot. Maybe if he had received a punishment for breaking the law, like 200 hours community service, $5000 in fines, and even a week in jail, it might have turned him around. How does one pay for those court costs? Oh they have to get a job. You would be amazed at how punishment works to change bad behavior and helps the kid grow up and accept responsibility for his actions. If the kid still can't quite get it, throw him in jail for a month or two, or maybe even a year or two. You would be amazed at how they become responsible adults very quickly. Yes, its on their record, and they made the bad choices after all. They do live thru it. I hope his lawyer, the prosecutor and the judge who dropped the charges can sleep well. Dropping the charges in July, told Wesley Woodson, it was OK to have a gun and it was OK to use it.
J C September 29, 2012 at 12:39 PM
A group of 150 teens fighting in the streets, Well 300 parents should be ashamed of themselves. But it's easier to pass the blame on. Well this kind of behavior starts at home. Time to stop making excesses and be responsible.
annie September 29, 2012 at 01:13 PM
who posts "havin a party" on facebook and doesn't expect half the school to show up? Fighting at the party? The parents should have called the police and said this is getting out of hand. We need some help. Hindsight though, is 20/20.
JJ September 29, 2012 at 02:24 PM
We lived in Evanston for 16 years. Our Council representative wouldn't even acknowledge that street gangs existed in our neighborhood (9th ward). We knew all too well that street gangs (multiple - up to 7) were and are still obviously a very serious issue/threat to/in Evanston. These gangs provide devastating violence, disrespect for life, dangerous drug running, and corrupt young people thus destroying countless lives. We moved away before our children could become a potential target. If this incident does anything, I hope and pray the citizens of Evanston work together to dismantle/extinguish the gangs. 1st step: admit you have a HUGE problem. 2nd step, everyone work together to eliminate them...they are a cancer in the fabric of the community. They will always threaten the City of Evanston, you must always be weary of them. We loved Evanston for the diversity, creativity, the people, and community involvement. The gangs only work to destroy these attributes/values. For the issue around guns, until "we the people" are no longer ruled by the NRA and/or the gun lobbies, the problem of hand guns used only to kill people, cannot be solved. Simply banning guns never removes them from those that have a vision for violence. Our prayers go out to the families so recently impacted.
Evanstonian September 30, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Really? If Woodson is the murderer, and, as reported, he did it to retaliate some aggression against one of his acquaintances... you are looking at a guy with such twisted values that he thought it was appropriate to grab a gun and shoot at someone else. No "village" or amount of motivation will compensate for a gravely distorted view of the world. Do not delude yourself. Please do not place an innocent kid (Coleman) in the same basket as this *thug*. Because he was already a thug, with a prior arrest for carrying guns.
Sally September 30, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Evanstonian, I believe that Cherie's point was that along the way we as a community have the opportunity to form our (at risk) youth into 'Dajaes' before they become the person who commits such a horrific crime. I often look at the kids in my children's class in kindergarten and wonder where they will end up. What I should be asking myself is "what can I do to help all of these kids stay on the right path".
Festus McMoron October 01, 2012 at 12:23 AM
gosh melanie, someone throws a party and the police are responsible for chaperoning it. what if everything was calm and they show up? you all would start screaming racial profiling and why do they have to be at the party, blah, blah, blah. there would be lawsuits out the wazoo. maybe this parent should have called 10 other parents whose kids were at the party and let them help. ever think of that? maybe the police could have given rides to all 150 home and tucked them into bed. would that satisfy you??
Jenness Moss Stock October 03, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Festus, I don't think Melanie is saying the police should chaperone the party. But when the party was ended and fighting began, it would have been appropriate to contact the police and let them help to disperse the crowd.
Dan Cox October 09, 2012 at 06:58 PM
The Gang Issue is a serious one that will not go away, without a concerted effort by Resident's, Police and Businesses. The Gun's are the larger issue, they will never go away and will be a serious threat to our children, if education on Gun Safety is not taught to them. The likelyhood that a child Pre-K thru 2nd Grade, will somehow find a Hand Gun in a drawer, under a Bed, etc, is becoming more likely everyday. To ignore this and pretend it will never happen is just non sense. The Kid's need to be taught simple Gun Safety Rule's. If a child finds a Gun and does not know these essential rules, a tragedy could happen. The Rule's are simple and easy to teach... If you find a Gun, STOP, DO NOT TOUCH IT, GO FIND AN ADULT AND TELL THEM, WHAT YOU FOUND! The other thing we need to teach our Teenagers about Gun Laws in Illinois, possession of a Gun will get them a Felony Conviction, that will ruin their life and any hopes of a decent job! We talk about helping people, this is about saving live's!

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