Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl says Evanston police and other law enforcement agencies involved “did a marvelous job” investigating the murder of 14-year-old Dajae Coleman.

The mayor, speaking at a news conference announcing the arrest of 20-year-old Wesley Woodson on murder charges in the case, also voiced sympathy for the Coleman family.

Dajae, the mayor said, was an example of the the best in the community — a wonderful young man who’d taken advantage of every opportunity the City of Evanston has to offer.

She also praised high school students who came together to show their sorrow and support for Coleman’s family ater the shooting.

The mayor said she was sorry it turned out that the perpetrator was an Evanston resident, and said that showed “we must work even harder as a community” to make sure the opportunities the city offers are taken advantage of by all our youth.”

Police Chief Richard Eddington said police officers had worked tirelessly on the Coleman case to bring it to a successful resolution and praised the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force and the county state’s attorney’s office.

“Without their assistance we wouldn’t be here today,” Eddington said.

The chief added that the partnership between the police department and the community had played a critical role.

The willingness of community members to share with police what they know about an incident “is what makes difficult matters like this resolvable,” the chief added.

Update 5:28 p.m.: In a statement issued later in the afternoon, Mayor Tisdahl called for gun buy-back programs and other strategies to get guns off the street.

And she called for increased efforts “to engage youth in meaningful activities” to direct their lives away from crime.

She encouraged residents to turn out for Tuesday’s community meeting on protecting and engaging youth that’s scheduled for 7 p.m at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.

Top: Mayor Tisdahl speaks to the television cameras at this afternoon as Chief Eddington stands behind her.

Related stories

Man charged with murder in death of 14-year-old

Murder a case of mistaken identity

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Hate the gangs and get ’em off our streets

    I think the mayor is missing the mark when she says the answer is to get guns off the street.

    The answer is to get the gangs off of our street. Disband them by any means necessary. Wesley Woodson III was a member of the Gangster Disciples. He thought his cousin was "jumped" by rival gangs and went to retaliate.

    Woodson last year was shot in the leg in Evanston but he refused to cooperate with police or press charges. I'd love to hear what Woodson's parents have to say about their son. Did they know their son was in a gang? What did they do about it? 

    I am so sorry for the Coleman family. I hope they make the best use of this tragedy to bravely speak out against gangs and the no-snitch culture creeping into minority communities.

    Save the hate for gangs. We need to get the gangs off our streets. Declare war on Evanston gangs! March against gangs!

    What say you, Madam Mayor?

  2. Please gangbangers, hand over

    Please gangbangers, hand over all your weapons to the nice mayor lady and well-meaning civic leaders of our lovely town. Murders keep rising despite gun bans.

    The young victim was living with a single mom and the perp was living with an intact family, both students of Evanston schools.  The gangs need to be gone from Evanston.  Our high school is a disgrace because we won't confront crime and let the police do their jobs.

    1. That sounds easy

      "Gang members, kindly clear out of E-town in an orderly fashion". If there were an easy answer, obviously we wouldn't have a problem. Instead of criticism and finger pointed I would love to hear real ideas.

  3. Mayor’s logic?

    Our Mayor is quoted as saying:

    The mayor said she was sorry it turned out that the perpetrator was an Evanston resident, and said that showed "we must work even harder as a community" to make sure the opportunities the city offers are taken advantage of by all our youth."

    Would it have been better the perpetrator was from Chicago/ – that is the myth the Mayor and her friends have been spreading around town for years the people from Chicago commit all the crime here.  I remember some years back an Evanston police officer told me the criminals from Chicago would get lost if they came here, its Evanston residents committing the large majority of crime here Madam Mayor!

    Please use your salary Mayor, to buy back the guns, not our water fund, or other tax payer money.

    Please don't creating any more programs using our tax dollars, to give money to your friends to help youths.

    I think as the others commenting here are saying you are out of touch with reality, the is a large criminal element here that needs to be removed from the community. Not more silly social programs and feel good meetings.


    1. Tone Deaf Ponzi

      Ponzi: You're as politically and socially tone deaf as Mitt Romney was in attacking the US President when the US embassy in Libya was attacked and it's chief diplomat murdered on Sept 11. You use every opportunity to attack our duly elected Mayor Tisdahl, and you do it so much that your actions have morphed from simply obnoxious to gravely pathetic.

      1. Wish there were more Ponzis

        While I may not agree with every one of Ponzi's comments, I respect that he is taking his time to try to make our community better.  THe guy has the courage to put his name on every one of his posts.  He goes to council meetings.  He runs for office.

        I wish there was more like him in our community, and less of the type that belittle others online using anonymous names.

        Trying to compare Ponzi's comments to Mitt Romney's actions in attacking the president?  I fail to see the relationship- Unless you mean that we Americans should no longer try to critique those in power?  



        1. Thanks, understand what the Mayor’s friends are about.


          Jen – thanks, but I never get upset, these people have been here for years, they want to control the message, ofcourse now the message is such a mess, more and more citizens are seeing through their messages as lies.

          I have lived here for close to 30 years, those in power here want to control, what everyone hears.  During one election they talked about CIVILITY, civility means as long as you agree with what they want you are civil.

          The Mayor wants to use the city for her own personal agendas, the clinic is a good example, claiming no cost to tax payers. Buy back guns, wheres the funds?  Wally slush fund? ( what effect will it have anyway?) More youth programs, didn't we just give away $80,000 at the last council meeting for another jobs program?  Mayor whats the results of the millions of our tax dollars you have given away in your long life in political office? 

          Look at all the economic development here and whos getting funds, connect the dots, friends of friends.  All legal?  Yes, on the surface it all looks good, but no one in their right mind would be giving out these loans and grants.

          Maybe the person who commented, should go take a look at the Robert Crown proposals, that is if they have any intelligence, I would like to hear their comments,  

          I have noticed one critic of the city now is doing work for the city, one way to stop, those who voice their views,  Another citizen was basically run out by city scare tactics to stop speaking.  Two other citizens have had the microphone shut off.  Wally even now has the council meetings on a delay, so when you sit out in the room out side the chamber the TV and what they say inside don't match up.

          The Highlights basically give out lies to the citizens on taxes.

          This issue with the hand cuffs, will blow up in Wally's and the Mayor's, faces.  Wally can't stand bad
          PR, but the problem is, if they would run things in a ethical and correct manner Wally would not have to keep trying to cover them up.

          If you look at the comments of those that attack, they never attack the ideas or deal with the issues, why? Because one, they don't know whats going on, and two,they are as big as part of the problem as the Mayor.

          1. Tisdhal has good intentions, maybe out of touch

            Love that passion Junad 🙂

            I watch the actions of Tisdahl, and after having spoken with her a few times- I think she's a nice lady.   I don't agree with her economic policies as I don't believe the government should be in the business of lending out money or giving grants to favored private enterprise.

             I do think she wants the best for low income people, and puts out there many programs to try and help people, the clinic being but one example or affordable housing being another.  I think many in Evanston agree with her intentions on this front, but some don't connect the dots that more services and affordable home grants equals higher taxes (or rental fees) for everyone in town- IT's a catch 22- You help some lower income people, but then taxes/rents must go up for all- which ends up making it harder for all other lower income families to stay.

             As for the clinic, the northshore health center is the winner here.  Low income people were getting serviced here through the ER,  but now with the new clinic, people will come to to clinic instead.  NOrthshore writes a relatively small grant to help the clinic open. THey keep their tax exempt status with this donation. The evanston residents will end  up paying more taxes, unless the Erie Center really can run a health clinic on a $600,000 a year grant- which I find highly suspect.   I'm not against the clinic in theory, but I question if this was a good move for the city right now, considering we are so far in debt already.  Shouldn't we be worried about our own financial health before opening up a clinic in the basement of a city building that will service any person from ANY SUBURB in the area? 

             I do support the use of my tax dollars to provide services that help develop our youth- both mentally and physically.   OVerall, I  think Evanston's children services and recreation facilities are paltry compared to surrounding suburbs with equal diversity/size.  Unfortunately, I see Tisdahl as mostly talk and no action on this front.  She has not vocally supported the efforts of private citizens to open an indoor sports field in the Oakton recycling center. She did not strongly stand by Chandler-Newberger center last year. She did not  support the north branch or South branch, nor the energetic Friends of the Library group.  The Robert Crown proposal is just another example of this lack of leadership.  Of all three options, the only one that included an indoor sports field, which is sorely needed in town, in addition to 2 ice rinks, was not even considered by council. 

            I do agree with you that Tisdhal's idea of a "gun buy back" program is completely out of touch with reality.   My guess is that the guns used in these crimes are not registered guns anyway.  It is quite comical to think of gang members selling their guns to city officials.

            What I'm wondering lately is this- What impact has the recent leniancy on marijuana possession had on gun-related crime in town?  Perhaps it is just my layperson impression from the news, but it seems to me that gun-related violence has escalated since the mayor changed the punishment for possession from large fine/jail time to a $50 fine last year.

            I recall seeing the map of locations for marijuana-related crime/busts in Evanstonnow, and quite a few were located right around ETHS.    NOw, we are seeing people carrying weapons and crime also right around the high school.  Correlated?

            Agree with Tisdhal that the police in town need to be recognized and supported.  They have a tough job.  The gun-spottings and violence of late in Evanston are completely unacceptable, and keeping our kids safe should be priority #1 for everyone.

            Anyway, I appreciate all your efforts Ponzi.  WIthout people like you, we would be out of Evanston already.

            I very much hope that there is change of leadership soon.

          2. Jen I agree with you

            I am not against the clinic by any means, what I am against is the staff and Mayor lies about the clinic, no cost to tax payers.  Also this is a federal funded clinic it is suppose to severe the poor, that also means Skokie residents, so putting it the Civic Center, does not serve its mission.

            I am also not against the sport facility on Oakton, I like to see my tax dollars used for things that add to the community not wine and cheese bars. Jane Grover, clearly can not accomplish anything, I did not see this group, giving a presentation, that made any sense, ofcourse part of the problem lies with the weak leadership of the council and its ability not to solve a problem.  The reality of this sport facility is the city needs to step up to the plate and run it IF it truely makes sense.   Wally so called sale of the land for economic develepment was joke.

            I do not know what ward you are in, but you should consider running for council.


          3. For Ponzi

            I have considered running, but just not right now. My kids are both little, I work at a school full time at a speech pathologist in a school during the weekdays, and then I teach classes on the weekends at Evanston Athletic Club (4pm Sundays! Come on over!).  ONce my own kids get just a bit bigger, I'd definitely like to get more involved in city politics.   I love it!

             In the meantime, I am hoping that my friend George Harrison will decide to run to challenge Mark Tendham for representing the 7th ward.  Some info on George- He has been an AYSO commissioner, a softball coach, and  cub scout troop leader. George, with his dynamic positive personality, would be the perfect person to represent the kids and families of the 7th ward. (and if you see this George… I will definitely host a coffee/tea for you, or flier the town 🙂




          4. Jen ‘n’ Junad has a nice ring

            Jen 'n' Junad has a nice ring to it.

            And you deserve each other…you both share the talent for criticizing and haranguing  government officials (via the enabliing convenience of your computer keyboards) without the undue burden of actually being responsible for accomplishing anything for the good of Evanston. 

            Junad is a crank personified. He will never be elected to anything as he obviously lacks the finesse and open-mindedness required to appeal to the large block of rational Evanston voters. 

            Jen, on the other hand, lists her grievances and her impressive resume, then proposes that a guy named "George Harrison" (who sounds pretty darn busy himself) do the heavy lifting instead. She's all for change…as long as it doesn't get in the way of (Come on over!) her exercise class at EAC.

          5. LOL

            Good crititique anonymous.  

              My top priority is spending my free time with my own children right now, so I am not willing to change Evanston politics right now, but I have helped changed many a fanny in this town 🙂   and helped quite a few with "heavy lifting."   LOL-

            I'd vote for you Junad.

          6. Exactly what I was thinking

            You took the words right out of my mouth.  It's sure easier to criticize than come up with actual solid ideas and do the work.  Even if I disagree with them sometimes, I have nothing but respect for those who run for office and serve our city and schools.

          7. What are your solutions? Keep on electing the Mayor?

            What are your solutions? Frankly most of the problems here, can  be solved that is if you know what you are doing.  Why don't you take a look at one of the city newest screw ups the Robert Crown Proposal and tell us how to go about correcting the mess?  The council will just vote on it, with Wally going to work with the developers, what a mess, please tell us what you would do?

            Frankly I realize the council members are clueless, as to any rational process, to get anything done, they mostly window dress issues, and don't problem solve. They pretend they are approving staff's recommendations, like the 1.4 million yard waste screw up, and hold no one accountable.

            By the way where you one of the so called "Rational voters" who voted for the former governor? LOL


          8. What are my solutions?

            I don't have them.  That's the point.  If there were easy solutions, it would be done.  Jen, with her small children, is presumably young and may come to understand the reality of how difficult it is to solve complicated problems in a city like ours but you, "Ponzi", I don't know why you seem to think the answer is as simple as criticizing our current elected officials and then electing new ones. 

          9. That’ll be a neat trick

            I am hoping that my friend George Harrison will decide to run to challenge Mark Tendham for representing the 7th ward.

            Far be it from me to dissuade anyone from running – we have had far too many unchallenged elections in the last decade and a half – but challenging Mark Tendam for the 7th ward council seat would be tricky business since Mark Tendam represents, and lives in, the 6th Ward.

            But you never know: a platform of representing the 7th ward might just win in the 6th.

          10. Mark Sloane challenging Mark Tendam

            My name is Mark Sloane and I again will be challenging Mark Tendam for 6th Ward Alderman. Hopefully a repeat of the last election with a different result. What have I done over the last 4 years instead of being an Alderman? I Chaired the Mayor's Budget Advisory Committee making strong recommendations to the Council, some of which have been adopted, some still being proposed. I Chaired the District 65 budget advisory committee, suggesting ways to balance the school districts' current and future budgets. I've coached AYSO soccer the last three years "Go Orange Crush" and I am currently the President of the Central Street Neighbors Association, which in a few weeks will be holding a public forum on our elected State representatives up for election on November 6th. I have stayed involved, attend meetings and am even more passionate about representing the 6th Ward and providing a trained financial expert on to our City Council. It is sorely needed! Look for me as I obtain the signatures necessary to get on the ballot over the next two months. We are in need of strong leadership and common sense for the sixth ward and throughout Evanston. I value your support.

            Mark Sloane

          11. Looking forward to seeing your platform Mark Sloane!

            This is great news that there will be a definite challenger to Mark Tendham in the 6th ward (not 7th, oops).   It would be fabulous to get someone with financial expertise on council, and someone who has been so involved in kid activities too!

              I'm very concerned about the financial health of our city.

            I would absolutely love to support with my time and efforts a candidate to challenge Mark Tendham. I'm really looking forward to hearing your ideas when the time is right for you Mark Sloane!   Specifically- what is your opinion on increasing TIF districts in town, especially considering that the school district is struggling to pay bills already and TIFs will keep money from the schools?  What is your stance on giving out tax money to private businesses such as Trader Joe's, pancake houses, wine and cheese bars?   What do you plan to do in regards to pensions- where would you vote right now with funding pensions?  What is your opinion on distribution of services in town- meaning this- I know times are tight- if/when cuts are needed, where would you cut?  Or would you favor a rise in property taxes in order to maintain current services?

            I'm not sure if Don WIlson is up for re-election, but I hope that he decides to run again too.

  4. Is the mayor serious?

    Is she really serious … A gun buyback program???? and a youth jobs program???? Next she'll be suggesting a gun safety course at ETHS for the gang members.

    How about more police presence aroung ETHS to start, 24/7, right now before there is another tradgedy.

    Time for this mayor and her old ideas to take a hike. Evanston needs leadership with a plan that can solve this problem around ETHS once and for all. Not more failed programs at the taxpayers expense that benefit her cronies.

  5. anonymous

    Not that we have to publish our addresses, but I always question comments from "anonymous." Please, have the courage of your convictions…..sign your real name. We are a small, smart, safe community.

    thanks, AnnMarie Conner


  6. anonymous

    Not that we have to publish our addresses, but I always question comments from "anonymous." Please, have the courage of your convictions…..sign your real name. We are a small, smart, safe community.

    thanks, AnnMarie Conner


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