Evanston Police arrest, charge man in murder of Dajae Coleman

Arrestee photo of Wesley Woodson III, the 20-year-old Evanston resident charged with the murder of Evanston Township High School student Dajae Coleman. Woodson shot Coleman on Saturday night after mistakenly identifying him as the aggressor in a fight with an acquaintance.

Photo courtesy of Evanston Police Department

Arrestee photo of Wesley Woodson III, the 20-year-old Evanston resident charged with the murder of Evanston Township High School student Dajae Coleman. Woodson shot Coleman on Saturday night after mistakenly identifying him as the aggressor in a fight with an acquaintance.

Manuel Rapada, Assistant City Editor

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Evanston Police have made an arrest less than a week after the murder of 14-year-old Dajae Coleman.

In a news conference Friday, EPD Cmdr. Jay Parrott announced that police have arrested and charged Evanston resident Wesley Woodson III with first-degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Police arrested Woodson, 20, on Wednesday at his residence. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved charges Thursday night, Parrott said.

Police were able to locate witnesses early in their investigation after canvassing the area. EPD Chief Richard Eddington thanked members of the community for their assistance.

“Had not community members come forward and provided us with the assistance we needed, we would not be here today having this press conference,” he said.

Officials released new details on the lead-up to Saturday night’s fatal shooting.

A parent ended a party, which Coleman attended with friends, after an altercation at 10 p.m. between two attendees, Parrott said. Then, about 150 teenagers walked east on Church Street, toward Evanston Township High School. At some point, additional altercations occurred.

A person Woodson knew was involved in a fight, Parrott said. After being contacted about the fight, Woodson retrieved a nine-millimeter handgun and confronted a group walking east in the 1500 block of Church Street.

As Woodson fired four shots, Coleman and his friends ran away. Coleman was shot in the back while running. Coleman’s group was mistaken for the group that had been involved in the altercation with Woodson’s acquaintance, Parrott said.

Parrott said the shooting was a retaliatory act toward a group of teenagers with no gang affiliation.

The firearm Woodson used has not been recovered by EPD, and Woodson declined to make any statements to police during the investigation.

Earlier in the press conference, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl called Dajae an example of “what is best in our community.”

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