Update 1 p.m.: Evanston police say 20-year-old Wesley Woodson III has been charged with first degree murder in the shooting death Saturday of 14-year-old Dajae Coleman.

Police say Woodson mistook Coleman and the group of friends he was walking home with from a party for another group of people who’d been involved in a dispute with another person who was an associate of Woodson.

Police say Woodson, who lives in the 1700 block of Ashland Ave., confronted the group as they walked in the 1500 block of Church Street about 10:30 p.m. and fired four shots, one of which struck Coleman in the back and killed him

Coleman and his friends had no affiliation with street gangs.

Woodson appeared in bond court this morning in Skokie and is being held without bond..

Cmdr. Jay Parrott says the department wants to thank the North Regional Major Crime Task Force and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the investigation.

The funeral for Coleman is scheduled for Saturday morning.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Great police work

    Yet another fine piece of police work from Evanston PD. I hope there is some sense of closure for the family. 

    Perhaps a public expression of gratitude from our fine Alderman? 

  2. Not the first time for the alleged shooter

    Seems that Mr. Woodson, then age 19,  was arrested and charged with unlawful use of a firearm on the 1700 block of Ashland on May 11, 2011.  I am very interested in what the end result of that incident was. Conviction? Sentence? Dismissal? 

    Our society needs to come down harder on gun crime.

    1. Yep

      Our society needs to come down harder on gun crime.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you. I'd like to think that we could all agree on this no matter our policital leanings.

    2. Punish criminals, not non-criminals.

      Nice work uncovering those charges from 2011. I surely hope they get the right guy and he "goes away" for a long, long time.

      "Our society needs to come down harder on gun crime." I agree completely: those committing gun-related crimes should be severely punished on the first offense, no matter what their age. Along with that, I can say that law-abiding gun owners should not be punished by having their guaranteed rights diminished in any way.


  3. What’s wrong with this picture Evanston residents?

    From May 2011 Evanston police blotter;


    Unlawful Use of Weapon

    Wesley A. Woodson, 19, of Evanston was arrested and charged with unlawful use of weapon at 1 p.m. on May 11 on the 1700 block of Ashland Avenue. His court date is set for June 14.


    Absolutely disgusting, and the community continues to tolerate it.


  4. More Gun reports around ETHS

    Offenders With Guns Reported on Church and Brown

    Police checked the intersection of McDaniel Avenue and Church Street after a caller reported seeing two men with guns at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 27.

    Police checked the 1800 block of Brown Avenue after a caller reported seeing a man with a gun in the area at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27.

    Police checked the 2400 block of Church Street after a caller reported seeing a man with a gun at 8:25 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27.

    It would appear Evanston has a real problem with guns in the neighborhood around ETHS and apparently the EPD and mayor have no plan to solve it.

    1. Completely agree – the mayor and the EPD apparently have no plan

      I agree. I am frequently amazed at how Evanston handles violence, or rather, doesn't handle it. The officers in this town are more concerned with issuing tickets for non-moving violations, than operating as urban cops. This town is an extension of Chicago. We need to stop worrying about offending people (which I believe is a chronic problem, particularly after having spoken at length with a former North Shore police commissioner) and step down hard on the crime surrounding ETHS for a start. Where are the cops around the high school? I rarely see them. Rarely.  I can sit in my car on any given day at the corner of Dodge and Church and see a drug deal, violence, or both. Why is there no apparent effort to rev up some real action against crime in this town? How about protecting our kids and the good people who live near the high school? Over and over, we read "gunshots fired. Area checked. Nothing found." Better yet, today, I read, "man with gun see twice, not found." What in the world?! When thinking about competency, I also always remember the officers who failed to find anything around Nichols after all the calls regarding the pipe bomb.  Could we get some tough officers in this town, please? Hopefully before our wonderful town becomes a place within which no wants to live.

      Regarding that wonderful boy that was killed on Saturday… I hope the police department actually relied on credible evidence and arrested the right guy, rather than scapegoated someone else's child.  

      1. Let’s appreciate what we have….

        This is pretty inflammatory and fairly insulting to our police department.

        Does anyone remember back to the Spring and Summer of 2012 (so long ago), listening to the news reports of shootings in Chicago?

        March 12 – 10 dead, 40 wounded over the weekend

        March 19 – 7 dead, several wounded over the weekend.

        And the list went on and on, and every Monday morning, a new gruesome report would come out.  And every one of those was someone's child, or someone's brother, or someone's sister.

        Now Evanston is not Chicago (thank goodness), but how many shooting deaths were you hearing about in Evanston in the same time period?  Many metro areas had records similar to Chicago, much of which was attributed to the warmer than usual weather.  But I did not notice a huge uptick in violent crime here in Evanston.

        Who should we "blame" for that?  I guess it's easy to say it was random, that quality policing has nothing to do with it.

        Similar to the fact that violent crime in Evanston has generally declined in recent years – that's probably random, too – we can't give credit to any group for that either.

        Dajae Coleman's death is a horrible tragedy.  It's one that every segment of the community appears to be outraged about.  There is no way that it can be excused, and the only one good thing that could possibly come out of such a horrific event is that the community rallies to prevent this from happening again.

        However, attacking the one group of people that has clearly and successfully protected so many other bright and rising stars of our community over the last six months is really counter-productive.  I would love to bring them to the table rather than crucifying them as failures.  Especially when their record has been so positive.

        1. I can appreciate your

          I can appreciate your comment. Truly. Even so, I stand behind what I said. The violence in Evanston certainly does mimic that in Chicago, and in some instances, it is associated. The young man arrested for Saturday's shooting was allegedly a Gangster Disciple. With our community butted up against Howard street, and a downtown eL stop connecting to the same street, we have some problems. Our officers do not appear to have the experience or training to deal with it.

          Why does the conduct continue around our high school? It seems rather obvious that there should be some serious policing going on around our schools, right?  Did you know that last winter there was a multi-defendant drug trafficking operation that (finally) was broken up? According to the indictment, the conduct had been occurring since 2009, involved many guns and heroin. The conduct occurred all around the high school, as well as areas that were fairly surprising such as Chicago Avenue and Main Street. It took federal agents to investigate and break it up. Just try to think about what had been going on for years around our kids and schools. We have a wonderful high school which is surrounded by crime.

          There is a fine line between racial profiling and investigating crime. I am well aware of that, and frankly quite concerned. Again, this would be less of a problem if we had officers trained to handle frequent, violent crime. I am troubled when I think about the recent lawsuit filed by the Northwestern prof whose 13-year-old son was handcuffed in his driveway for a burglary he did not commit.

          It would be interesting to pull together all  reported gun shots,  folks with guns, and other crime reportings and tie the reports to successful action.

    2. Please tell me again

      Tell me again about the great education that students can get at ETHS.  The school may be fabulous but I am very concerned about my children's safety getting there in the morning and getting home safely. 

      This issue will be the one that drives us to move out of Evanston.  Sending my children into an area that, based on the media reports, is frequently home to people who are walking around with guns and are shooting guns — that's insanity.  A man with a gun near the school at 8:15 a.m. and 7:15 p.m. 

      I grieve the loss of Dajae Coleman.  But it sends the message loud and clear that the area near the high school is not safe for children to walk the streets.

      I believe that the police are doing the best job that can be done.  The area near ETHS has had violence problems for decades.  What are we, as a community, prepared to do about it?


  5. As the parent of 2 ETHS students

    As the parent of 2 ETHS students, and a member of the community affected by Dajae Coleman's tragic death, I am relieved that an arrest has been made.  Thank you Evanston Police!

      1. community member

        I know, right? I'm a member too, and so is my child, and grandchild. We are ALL affected. I was born and raised here by very hard working people who did not commit crimes, and break the law.  I grew up on the 1600 block of Florence. When I was a teen, we saw fights and other foolishness, but 20 year olds did not get involved in teen-disputes.  The shooter (if in fact he is guilty) was obviously just looking for trouble, and trying to show false power (gang affiliation) to his relative. His pride got him into a lot of trouble. He should have instructed his teen relative to go home. I used to love Evanston.  But I'm leaving as soon as I save the money to go. I'm sick of it.

    1. Wesley Woodson

      Wesley Woodson was an ETHS graduate and played football.

      This is such a tragedy for the whole community

    2. Woodson’s family

      Yes, he was raised here. I don't know him, but grew up with his father (of the same name) who was raised in the home he was arrested at on Ashland.

  6. Hmmmm

    I love that everyone is happy that the perpetrator was caught.  But, if he was stopped and questioned the evening of the shooting, in the vicinity,  would he have been racially profiled?  Evanstonians need to wake up and let the police do their job. 

    1. Wake up

      Evanstonians will forever sleep…They have been hibernating since the 70's when young people were getting raped, given "mickey's" to take their minds, and being shot to death- right here in Evanston.  They want to solve this and put it to the side as quickly as possible and move on without getting to the bottom. Everyone that the murderer (If it's him) was affiliated with most likely has a gun.  There may be more guns in his home. There are illegal guns all over Evanston.  How can a town this small be full of cocaine, heroine, crystal meth,  and guns without daily arrests?  That's my question.

  7. Why was Woodson even on the street?

    With that record why was he ever out of jail again to commit this crime ?

    I assume we can't hold the judges or parole boards who let these criminals out responsible—but it sure would be nice if we could give them some jail time or at least a substantial fine [to the victim's family] for letting the criminals out !

    Supposedly the jails are over crowded but what are they for if not to keep the criminals separate from society.

    If they knew they would not have some judge or parole board let them out before their full sentence was served maybe they would not want to commit the crime.  In any event they would not be out robbing, assulting or killing.

    The problems start with the schools, parents and even churches not teaching, mentoring, applying discipline and not even teaching that there is such a thing as morality.   Obviously even with the best of these, some will still choose a life of crime.  But how many NU graduates do you think are ever arrested for murder or even theft or assult ?  I suspect much less than even 1%.  I suspect similar figures would be true of most nationally known private schools.  I don't know the numbers, but from campus crime in the news it doe not seem that percentages are as low for public colleges.  With grade inflation, passing kids through grades, bad schools and teachers and parents who don't care or are there to help, the K-12 situation does not look good..  These are generalizations and i'm sure the liberals will howl, but most people know this is true.

    1. Put them on a pallet

      I know right? Over-crowded jails my behind! If a person commits a violent crime and should be sentenced, I don't care if they have to sleep on top of each other, or on the floor.

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