Chicago anti-violence activist shot dead just steps away from his office | US news


A Chicago community activist who worked to fight violence was shot dead less than a block from the offices of his nonprofit, according to police and the man’s relatives.

William “Willie” Cooper, 58, was shot on Saturday afternoon near the offices of Lilydale Outreach Workers for a Better Community, on Chicago’s South Side. Cooper was the principal officer of the anti-violence group, which provides jobs for local teenagers.

Police said Cooper was walking when someone shot him from a dark-colored vehicle driving by. Cooper suffered wounds to his torso and mouth. About 20 shell casings were scattered near his body, according to his wife, Sherry Clark, with whom he had three children.

“People are so cold-hearted,” Cooper’s niece, Patricia Carter, told WLS-TV. “How could you take somebody’s life? He helped everybody. I just don’t understand.”

No one was in custody as of Sunday afternoon and investigators had yet to identify any persons of interest, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

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Detectives were trying to determine whether Cooper was targeted or the victim of a random shooting, he added.

“It’s too early to say at this point,” Guglielmi said, noting that investigators were trying to track down any surveillance video that may have captured the shooting.

Relatives arriving at scene of the shooting were in tears. They gathered with other family members in front of the offices where Cooper worked.

“He did a lot for the community,” his wife told the Chicago Tribune.

The newspaper reported that the incident was one of at least three fatal shootings over 18 hours between Saturday and Sunday in Chicago. The high rate of gun violence in the city has prompted national debate, with President Trump heralding the arrival of a task force of 20 federal agents aiming to tackle the problem.

Click to view the original article on The Guardian.

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