Shock: deacon slain in Chicago


A South Side blues musician about to record on a major label and a 74-year-old church deacon known for his work with youth were shot to death blocks from each other within 30 minutes, authorities said.

Police are looking into whether the deaths of Eric “Guitar” Davis, 41 and Willie Cooper could be connected, but had no details this morning. No one was reported in custody for either shooting.

Cooper, a retired CTA driver, was shot to death around 4:45 a.m. Thursday as he pulled up in the 7000 block of South East End Avenue. Police said he was ambushed by gunmen who opened fire on his Chevy sedan.

About half an hour later, Davis found dead in a car about three blocks north, in the 6700 block of South East End Avenue, police said. He had also been shot several times.

The fatal shootings were among at least five in Chicago this week as the number of homicides for the year so far reached 400, a symbolic mark but still a far cry from the more than 500 recorded in all of last year.

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A local TV station reports:

St. Phillip Neri pastor Thomas Belanger said Cooper was a deacon of the Catholic Church, a riveting preacher who spent his days reaching out to the home-bound and mentoring young men from elementary through high school.

Father Belanger said he learned that Cooper was waiting in his car for a friend when witnesses heard several shots and found Cooper lifeless in the front seat of his car, an apparent victim of a carjacking attempt the followed a nearby murder.

“His passion, his love was for the children of Chicago, especially for our young men,” Belanger said. “He was a great mentor. He really was a man with vision, with Christ at the center of his life.”

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them…

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