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Prosecutors: Gunman Didn’t Even Know Who Evanston Boy Was

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Wesley Woodson (Credit: Cook County Sheriff)

Wesley Woodson (Credit: Cook County Sheriff)

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UPDATED 09/28/12 11:19 a.m.

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — A suspect has been charged in the shooting that killed a 14-year-old boy on the west side of Evanston last weekend.

Evanston police say Wesley Woodson has been charged with the murder of Dajae Coleman, whose was found 10:30 p.m. this past Saturday in the 1500 block of Church Street in Evanston. He was gunned down while walking home from a party.

Bond for Woodson, 20, was denied Friday morning at the Skokie Courthouse.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Around 10:30 p.m. this past Saturday, Woodson found out his cousin got jumped and stabbed by a group at a football field.

But when he came out seeking retaliation, he shot at the wrong group. Coleman was an innocent victim who had nothing to do with it, prosecutors said.

As Coleman and several others walked home from the party, Woodson pointed a gun at the group, asked, “Which one of you bitches,” and fired five times.

One bullet hit Dajae in the back and he died.

A neighbor was able to identify Woodson positively as the shooter. There were also two girls at Woodson’s home, according to prosecutors, who saw Woodson leave his home, heard shots, and then saw him return home.

About 20 of Dajae’s family members were in court Friday morning. Many of them were in tears as they heard the prosecutors read their proffered allegations detailing the story of Dajae’s murder.

Dajae’s mother, Tiffany Rice, broke down when prosecutors told the judge her son had done nothing to provoke Woodson, and that Woodson didn’t even know him.

“This is the first time, ever, that I’ve seen the man accused of killing my son. I mean, I was experiencing all kind of emotions, and I’m not going to deny – hate, disgust, sadness, you know, all in one,” Rice said.

“It just shows you the kind of person he is. He has no care, you know, no care for life; anyone’s life. And where he’s at, he deserves to be, because a person like that out on the street, nobody is safe. Nobody is safe, because he had no idea who my son was,” Rice continued. “Just to do something so stupid, I mean, he had absolutely no thought process. I mean, someone like that does not deserve to be walking the streets. Ever.”

Woodson’s neighbor, James Hightower, was in disbelief Friday and said he doesn’t think the young man could fatally shoot someone.

I don’t think he did it,” he told CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman.

But Evanston police say Woodson has had several run-ins with authorities and was himself the victim of a shooting.  He was out on bond in connection with a December 2011 drug arrest out of the southwest suburbs when he allegedly shot Dajae.

He was also charged last year with possession of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon, although he was found not guilty at trial. He also has prior arrests on charges of shoplifting, liquor offenses, and marijuana possession, but the charges were dropped in those cases.

Woodson is a graduate of Evanston Township High School, the very same school where Dajae was a freshman.

Witnesses said Dajae was walking with friends when he was shot.

Dajae has been remembered as an accomplished basketball player, a participant in the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment program and a good student.

Friends and family members say they cannot understand how Dajae could have been targeted in the shooting. The killing has sent shockwaves throughout his school.

A fund has been set up to help defray funeral costs for the victim’s family:

Dajae Coleman Memorial Fund

Evanston Township High School

1600 Dodge Avenue

60201

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