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Around Rogers Park: Police Search for Masked Assailant after Two Homicides

 

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced that, as a result of additional contributions, the reward is now up to $150,000. This is the largest reward offered in any crime investigation in the city’s history. (Source: WGN TV)

Police have determined that the same gun was used in two homicides that occurred on September 30th and October 1st. These shootings took place in broad daylight. These killings were not part of robbery attempts. No motive has been attributed to these crimes.

The first victim was 73-year-old Willard Douglass Watts. He was walking his dog near his home on the 1400 block of Sherwin Avenue at about 10 in the morning when he was approached from behind and shot in the head. The next day, 24-year-old Eliyahu Moscowicz was gunned down in the same way while walking along the Lakefront in Loyola Park. Mr. Moscowicz was a resident of West Rogers Park and was part of the large Orthodox Jewish community that resides in that area.

Photos of the suspected shooter were retrieved from cameras on Sherwin Avenue after the first shooting. These photos show a man of typical height and build wearing long pants, a long-sleeved jacket, a hat and a scarf obscuring his face but for his eyes.

As of this writing, there have been no similar shootings since the two in late September and early October. The police are actively looking for information on the identity of the assassin in response to an outcry of fear and anger from community residents.

Several members of RPBG have contributed funds to a reward that will be given to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest of the suspect. At a November 8th press conference at Loyola Park, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced that, as a result of additional contributions, the reward is now up to $150,000. This is the largest reward offered in any crime investigation in the city’s history.

Rogers Park has suffered from several notable shootings in recent years. Apart from the two recent shootings, Shane Colombo was shot and killed in what appears to have been gang cross-fire. On September 3rd, Mr. Colombo was waiting for a bus on Howard Street when he was gunned down. He had just arrived from California and was scheduled to begin a Ph.D. program in Psychology at Northwestern University. Less than a year earlier, Cynthia Trevillion was killed on the evening of October 13 on Glenwood Avenue in another a gang-related shooting.

These incidents have been shocking, awful and senseless. They have also resulted in widespread media coverage and considerable outcry from Rogers Park residents. Ironically, the murders in Rogers Park have declined over the past several decades and are now approximately equivalent to the homicide rate in Toronto, Canada, widely regarded as one of the safest large cities in North America.

But statistics are of little comfort when an assassin is roaming the streets of a community. This is especially true in a walkable community like Rogers Park where everybody is used to setting off by foot. The police are working on apprehending the offender. In the meantime, all anyone can do is be aware, and be careful.

 

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