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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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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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