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One year later: Police ask for help from the public, residents share mixed feelings on suspect at large after 2 Rogers Park murders

courtesy of The Chicago Police DepartmentThe police said in a press conference Oct. 1 they’ve exhausted all leads in their investigation into two Rogers Park murders that occured about a year ago. The police asked the public again for help with the investigation.

Rogers Park residents and Loyola students were sent into a frenzy one year ago after two community members were shot and killed within one day of each other. A year later, the suspect hasn’t been found and some people say they’re still fearful. 

Douglass Watts, 73, was shot in the head and killed Sept. 30, 2018 while walking his dogs in the 1400 block of West Sherwin Avenue — less than a mile from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus (LSC). Just a day later, Eliyahu Moscowitz, 24, was also shot in the head and killed near Loyola Beach — about half a mile from LSC. 

Police released a video showing the masked suspect and the reward for information on the shooter was raised to $150,000 — the largest reward raised by Chicagoans for information regarding the arrest and conviction of a homicide suspect. Despite this, authorities exhausted all leads after several months. 

In a press conference Tuesday, Robert Cesario, the commander of the Chicago Police Department’s Area North Division — which covers Rogers Park — reinforced police have exhausted all leads but are asking for the public’s help in the investigation.

 The gun used in the Rogers Park killings was connected to two West Side shootings — one two weeks after the incidents and the other in March, The Phoenix reported.

 Cesario said although the gun was tracked to the West Side shootings, there’s no indication that the same offender was connected to the incidents. 

“I’m here to assure you that the investigation into these murders is still … active and ongoing … the senseless killing of Mr. Watts and Mr. Moscowitz remains at the forefront of our thoughts and efforts,” Cesario said. 

Some community members, including Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce administrator Trudy Leong, voiced concerns since the perpetrator of the killings hasn’t been found. 

“There is still fear and there is unease because the killer has not been found,” Leong said. “It happened suddenly and we don’t know why it happened. The Rogers Park community would feel much more safe if the killer was found.”

Some community members, including Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce administrator Trudy Leong, voiced concerns since the perpetrator of the killings hasn’t been found.

“There is still fear and there is unease because the killer has not been found,” Leong said. “It happened suddenly and we don’t know why it happened,” Leong said. “The Rogers Park community would feel much more safe if the killer was found.”

Randy Hassen, a former resident of Rogers Park — who now lives in Evanston — said he knows Watts’ partner. He said he thinks there’s a fear in residents that didn’t exist before.

“I just feel like this murder, because it’s so publicized and so random, that it’s really put a scar [on] the community,” Hassen said. “People are definitely more afraid now to walk around at night.”

Maria Hadden, alderwoman of Chicago’s 49th Ward — which covers Rogers Park — said she thinks people in the neighborhood don’t have the same level of fear they had immediately after the shootings happened last fall.

“The absence of any further violence or trauma has allowed people to kind of heal and move forward,” Hadden said.

Puja Patel, a sophomore biology student at Loyola, said after the shootings, she was afraid to walk home at night. While her fear has subsided, she said she still thinks about it once in a while.

“I think, ‘Oh, this person is still out there … there’s a possibility that this person could come back and do whatever they did,’” Patel said.

Sal Carfagno, a sophomore healthcare administration major at Loyola, said he feels safe around campus, even after the shootings.

“I’ve never felt unsafe,” Carfagno, 20, said. “I know the resources on campus if I ever do.”

Despite the fact Hadden thinks fear has let up, she said she hopes Watts and Moscowitz’s loved ones can find closure.

“I hope that their friends and families know that we still think of them,” Hadden said. 

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