Two teenagers were arrested in Wisconsin last week on warrants that charge them with the July 12th death of Wil Lewis, the Rogers Park photographer who was shot while waiting for a bus at Devon and Glenwood. Eyewitness accounts at the scene of the crime provided invaluable information, which led to the arrests.
Rogers Park resident and Chicago Tribune reporter Liam Ford broke the storylast night and I confirmed it with Commander Thomas Waldera today. According to the Tribune report, a 15-year-old Lakeview resident and a 17-year-old Uptown resident were charged in Cook County warrants with the killing. Another accomplice, 31-year-old Uptown resident Eric Vaughn, was arrested shortly after the shooting and currently is being held without bond.
Police sources and prosecutors report that the three were in a car with several others when they spotted a rival gang member walking down Devon Avenue near Glenwood. Vaughn, who was driving the car, allegedly handed a gun to the 15-year-old and ordered him to shoot the rival. Both the 15-year-old and 17-year-old exited the car and began chasing after their intended target with the younger boy firing the weapon.
Tragically, Mr. Lewis was struck by one of the bullets and died shortly thereafter.
The 15-year-old continued firing his weapon as the two teens chased the intended target south on Glenwood into Edgewater.
Vaughn was arrested on foot shortly after the shooting when witnesses identified him to police as the driver of the vehicle.
Witnesses took photos of the two teens fleeing down the street and shared those photos with the police. According to Commander Waldera, this information proved absolutely invaluable to solving this crime and leading to the arrests. Though it took some time for the police to locate the two other suspects, who fled the state, the police knew almost immediately who they were looking for thanks to the information provided by eyewitnesses.
All too often, a “code of silence” has impeded investigations of shootings and homicides across the City, including Rogers Park, leaving the perpetrators free to continue their violence and the victims and their relatives without a measure of justice. We must break down the fear and mistrust that prevents good people from sharing critical information.
If you ever see anything that might aid in the investigation and prosecution of any crime, please contact Area North Detectives at 312-744-8200.
I congratulate the members of the Chicago Police Department for their quick work in bringing the alleged perpetrators to justice and I salute the residents of Rogers Park and Edgewater for being so willing to become involved and share information with the police officers. It is this kind of partnership between community residents and the police that helps to reduce crime and prevent a reoccurrence of this senseless violence.