CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago community activist who worked to fight violence was fatally shot less than a block from the offices of his nonprofit, according to police and the man’s relatives.
William “Willie” Cooper, 58, was shot Saturday afternoon near the offices of Lilydale Outreach Workers for a Better Community on Chicago’s South Side. Cooper was the principal officer of the anti-violence group, which provides jobs to local teenagers.
Police said Cooper was walking when someone shot him from a dark-colored vehicle driving by. Cooper suffered wounds to his torso and mouth. About 20 shell casings were scattered near his body, according to his wife, Sherry Clark, with whom he had three children.
“People are so cold-hearted. How could you take somebody’s life? He helped everybody. I just don’t understand,” Cooper’s niece, Patricia Carter, told WLS-TV.
No one was in custody as of Sunday afternoon and investigators have yet to identify any persons of interest, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Associated Press. He said detectives are trying to determine whether Cooper was targeted or the victim of a random shooting.
“It’s too early to say at this point,” Guglielmi said, noting that investigators were trying to track down any surveillance video that may have captured the shooting.
Relatives arriving at scene of the shooting were in tears. They gathered with other family members in front of the nearby offices where Cooper had worked.
“He did a lot for the community,” his wife told the Chicago Tribune.
The newspaper reports the incident was among at least three fatal shootings over 18 hours between Saturday and Sunday in Chicago.