Man charged in murder of Evanston honor student Dajae Coleman, 14

Wesley Woodson allegedly fired five shots into a crowd in the 1500-block of Church Street in Evanston around 10:30 p.m. on September 22, killing Dajae Coleman. (Evanston Police Department)
September 28, 2012 4:29:51 PM PDT
A 20-year-old man is charged in the murder of Dajae Coleman, 14, an honor student and promising high school athlete.

Wesley Woodson III allegedly fired four shots into a crowd in the 1500-block of Church Street in Evanston around 10:30 p.m. on September 22. Coleman was hit by a bullet.

According to police, Woodson was home Saturday night when his cousin called to say he had been assaulted. An angry Woodson allegedly walked out of his house, went less than a block, where police say he encountered a group of young people who he did not know, and started shooting.

"Woodson at this time had taken it upon himself to retrieve a 9-millimeter handgun to confront a group seen walking east in the 1500 block of Church Street and fire four shots at the group," said Commander Jay Parrot, Evanston police. "The investigation has revealed that Woodson has gang affiliations and that this was a retaliatory act on an innocent group of kids with no gang affiliation."

One of the four shots fired struck a fleeing Dajae Coleman in the back, killing the 14-year-old freshman at Evanston Township High.

"It shouldn't be that easy to kill people's children. It just shouldn't. It should not be that easy," said Tiffany Rice, mother.

Police say they have witnesses to the shooting who have identified Woodson at the scene, and later returning to his home. They have not yet located the murder weapon.

Woodson's neighbors say he's been in trouble before, despite his family's efforts to the contrary.

"It's a good family...I've know his father most of my life and he's a good earnest guy, and his wife is a good citizen, the whole family from what I can tell," said James Hightower, Woodson's neighbor.

"Nobody wins. It's just life gone, two kids gone. You'll never see either one again," said Chubby Payne, victim's neighbor.

Woodson has an arrest record for gun and drug possession. In May, he was involved in a fight and was shot twice. Police say there were no arrests in that case because he has refused to answer any questions. He has also refused to answer any questions regarding the shooting that left Coleman dead.

Coleman was on the honor roll at Evanston Township High School, where he was also a promising basketball player. His funeral will be Saturday at First Church of God Christian Life Center, 1524 Simpson Street, in Evanston.

For Coleman's fellow students, who gathered in his honor after the shooting, there is the question - why such low regard for life?

"I think it starts at home. How they grew up. Their mind set," said Jasmane Quinn, ETHS student

"Everyone is relieved an arrest has been made, but it never should have happened," said Jeneen Watson, ETHS student.


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