Community activist William Everett Cooper II was shot to death Saturday afternoon in the Far South Side Princeton Park neighborhood.
Cooper, known to friends as “Willie,” was outside about 4:15 p.m. in the 100 block of West 95th Street near “Lilydale Outreach Workers for a Better Community,” a nonprofit organization he ran, authorities said.
A car approached and someone inside called to Cooper, then opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle, authorities said.
Cooper, who lived in the Fernwood neighborhood, was shot in the mouth and torso, and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Known as the Mayor of 95th Street, Cooper founded Lilydale to help teens find jobs and help ex-offenders return to society. He also worked with the Cure Violence group.
“Willie was one of my first violence interrupters. He helped mediate over 50 conflicts that could have turned deadly while he worked with me. Everybody loved him and respected his office,” Tio Hardiman, former director of Ceasefire Illinois, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
No one was in custody.
Cook County Cmmissioner Stanley Moore wrote on Facebook: “I’m at a loss for words, Willie Cooper was my friend, he was a socially conscious leader in the community. He spoke up for the people who had no voice. He will be truly missed but never forgotten. Those who knew him affectionately referred to him as Big Will. The community has to wake up and speak up.”
Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, July 22, at St. John Baptist Church, 211 E. 115th St. The wake will begin at 10 a.m., the fundeal service at 11 a.m.
—Chicago Sun-Times Wire and Homicide Watch Chicago