Anti-Violence Activist Is Fatally Shot in Chicago

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["It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." Geroge Carlin *RON*]

Christine Hauser, New York Times, 17 July 2017

An image from a YouTube video of community members at a makeshift memorial for William Cooper on Sunday. CreditCBS Chicago, via YouTube
He was known as the Mayor of 95th Street, an angular figure in a cap and blazer who was a fixture of the streets of his Chicago neighborhood. He was an activist who tried to help young people rise above the city’s unrelenting gun violence.

But William Cooper, 58, fell victim to the violence he had worked so hard to stop.

On Monday, Chicago emerged from another bloody weekend of gun violence in which 10 people were killed in 35 gunfire incidents from Friday evening through just before midnight on Sunday, the Chicago Police Department said on Monday. Among them, the department confirmed, was Mr. Cooper, known as Willie.

Outside the Lilydale Outreach Workers for a Better Community in the city’s South Side neighborhood, local television stations broadcast an impromptu prayer vigil and a shrine that marked a spot at the nonprofit where Mr. Cooper had counseled the city’s young people.

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

William Cooper in a YouTube video. CBS Chicago, via YouTube
While the city’s gun violence has often left families and neighborhoods reeling, the weekend tally of victims hit particularly hard when it came to light that Mr. Cooper, who had made it his life’s work to help young people find jobs, was among them.

Mr. Cooper was walking on West 95th Street, in the Roseland section of the city, near the outreach center, at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday when a vehicle pulled alongside him and its occupants opened fire, striking him in the mouth and torso, the police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the department said. According to WLS-TV, an AR-15 assault-style rifle was used in the shooting.

It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Cooper had been targeted. No one had been arrested as of Monday morning, the police said.

Victims of the other fatal shootings included a 20-year-old black man who was shot in the head and a 49-year-old white man who was shot while getting out of a car.

The youngest victim was Gustavo Garcia, 10, who was fatally shot in the back at 11:15 p.m. on Friday while riding in a car with his stepfather and another man in the East Side neighborhood, The Chicago Tribune reported. A gray sedan pulled up next to the vehicle and someone inside opened fire, the newspaper said, quoting the police.

More than 760 people were killed in Chicago last year, according to the police, the most of any American city. The rate of shootings even drew the attention of President Trump, who once said he would “send in the Feds!” if the local authorities did not stop the “carnage.” Officials last month announced a program that deploys more federal agents to address the city’s gun crime.

After the shooting of Mr. Cooper, news spread online that the city’s violence had claimed the life of one of the people working to stop it.
View image on TwitterFollowDorothy Tucker
✔@dorothyTV2Was community activist Willie Cooper murdered to stop his anti-violence campaign? Rally tonight in #Roseland. @cbschicago 7:04 AM - 17 Jul 2017
1515 Retweets 33 likesTwitter Ads info and privacy
“This is a man that was dedicated to helping people in the community,” Lamon Reccord, a young Chicago activist, said in a Facebook video.“Somebody that was willing to give back to the neighborhood.”

“Chicago, let’s put these guns down,” he added.

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