Chicago police released video Monday evening that showed the gunmen who fatally shot a 65-year-old retired firefighter during an attempted carjacking, as community activists announced that contributions to a reward for the suspects’ capture had grown to about $34,000.
The 84-second clip aired from the Chicago public safety headquarters showed Dwain Williams, 65, quickly darting behind his maroon Jeep Grand Cherokee as three men exited the dark-colored Ford Fusion near the Let’s Get Poppin popcorn shop in the 11700 block of South Western Avenue last Thursday.
As the three men began circling Williams, he drew his own gun and fired shots at one gunman, who stumbled to the pavement before returning fire. At least two of the gunmen fired shots before fleeing back to the rolling Fusion that had been reported stolen and was later found abandoned in south suburban Tinley Park, police said.
The video didn’t show the shot that struck Williams in the abdomen, killing him.
“We’re asking the community to view the video, slow it down, share it with everyone,” police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan told reporters during a news conference broadcast from the public safety headquarters.
Deenihan said he was confident that the gunmen could be identified through the video and encouraged the public to offer their tips. Deenihan said police had seen video that made them believe the gunmen had spotted Williams’ vehicle prior to the shooting and followed him to the scene.
“The motive is carjacking. There’s not another motive,” Deenihan said. “They were trying to take this individual’s car.” He said the gunmen were possibly involved in other auto-related crimes, adding that CPD was working with south suburban police departments in the investigation.
Early Walker, founder of the anti-violence group I’m Telling, Don’t Shoot, stood with activist Andrew Holmes announcing his group, along with concerned business owners, were donating $10,000 to reward money already raised by Holmes and the pastor of St. Sabina, the Rev. Michael Pfleger. The total stood around $34,000, but a portion of Walker’s donation could be given to tipsters immediately.
“Here it is, he was trying to get some popcorn and his life was taken over a vehicle,” Walker said.
Holmes appealed to the families, friends and even incarcerated relatives of the shooters, asking them to turn them in. “Family members, take a close look at this video. If you know this is your loved ones, call the detectives, call any of us,” he said. “Because sooner or later, you’re going to get a knock at your door. And you’ll wish you (would have).”
After stopping at his favorite popcorn shop on Thursday afternoon, authorities said Williams was walking toward his maroon Jeep Grand Cherokee in the 2400 block of West 118th Street when a black car slowed down and three people jumped out, all of them with guns. Police believe the three were trying to steal Williams’ Jeep.
As they walked toward him, Williams pulled a revolver from his waistband and exchanged fire with them outside the store, authorities said.
He was hit once in the abdomen and collapsed. The gunmen piled back into their car and sped off down Artesian Avenue. The shooting apparently happened so quickly the car was still moving when the attackers jumped in, the police report said.
Responding officers found Williams lying on the pavement next to his Jeep, his revolver close by. It was not known if any of the attackers were hit, but police recovered shell casings from their guns: 9 mm, .40-caliber and .38-caliber.
Family, friends and co-workers remembered Williams as an accomplished chess player and musician who performed in a band of fellow firefighters.
“He put his whole heart into the city,” said his wife, Karen Armstrong-Williams.
Two of the gunmen wore dark hooded sweatshirts and pants with white sneakers, one with a red face mask and the third man wore a blue hooded sweatshirt with white trim, light-colored pants and white sneakers.