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Cops: Murder of boy, 14, was mistaken identity

Dajae Coleman Facebook page

Dajae Coleman on a Facebook page

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Updated: October 30, 2012 6:06AM



Intent on retaliation, a 20-year-old Evanston gang member got a gun and fired at the wrong group of people in the north suburb last week, killing a popular Evanston Township High School freshman, authorities alleged Friday.

Wesley Woodson is now charged with murder in last week’s slaying of Dajae Coleman, 14.

Woodson, who was shot this spring but refused to press charged, was ordered held without bond Friday, charged with seven counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, police said.

Evanston Police said Coleman’s murder was all a case of mistaken identity spurred by a dustup outside a huge 16th birthday party.

Some 150 teens were inside the McDaniel Avenue party on Sept. 22 when Evanston Police broke it up.

Outside, one of Woodson’s relatives got into a fight — and called Woodson to tell him about it, police said.

The relative said he’s been threatened. Woodson, in response, got a gun and went looking for his target amid the teens streaming away from the party, police said.

Not far from his own home, Woodson spotted Coleman and a group walking in the 1500 block of Church Street, police said. Coleman was en route back to his father’s house.

Woodson thought the threat outside the party was part of an ongoing feud between his relative and rival gang members, police said.

Woodson confronted the group at 10:30 p.m. and fired four shots from a handgun. Coleman was hit in the back and killed as the members of his group fled, police said.

Police stressed that Coleman and his friends have no affiliation with gangs.

Woodson, however, is a street gang member, with several arrests on his record including possession of a controlled substance and possession of a handgun, police said.

The night of his murder, Coleman had asked his father, Richard, for permission to go to the party with his pals.

“He told me where it was. I said, ‘OK, but don’t be sitting around there on the street. Don’t go wandering. Call me after the party. Don’t walk,’ ” Richard Coleman said. “He said, ‘OK, Dad. I’ll call you.’ … And he never called me back.”

After Dajae Coleman’s death, NBA players LeBron James, Tyson Chandler, Paul Pierce and Luc Mbah A Moute, as well as former Chicago Bulls player and current announcer Stacey King, reacted to his slaying on Twitter.

Dajae Coleman, known by friends as “Dae Dae” was to be on ETHS’s freshman basketball team. He was active in local basketball programs, including teaching younger players.

“Dajae’s killing shocked his friends, family and our entire community,” Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said in a statement Friday.

“Dajae was doing everything right with his life; his successes showed a promise we hope for all young men and women in Evanston. However, this bright promise for all Evanston youth remains endangered by senseless acts of violence and easy access to guns.

“As a community, we have worked together to make Evanston a safer place. ... But more needs to be done. And will be done. ... We have too many guns in this community.  We must work to get guns off the street through buy-back programs and other means until local jurisdictions have the authority to enact real gun control legislation.” Tisdahl has called for a community meeting next Tuesday at the Fleetwood Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St., “to bring together community members to discuss how we can bring more resources to our efforts to protect and engage our youth.”



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