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Community Remains in the Dark About Rogers Park Shootings Two Years Later

Courtesy of the Chicago Police DepartmentIt’s been two years since the high-profile murder of two Rogers Park residents, and details surrounding the suspect and his motive are still unknown.

September marked two years since two members of the Rogers Park community were shot and killed by an unidentified individual — a murder case that remains unsolved.

Douglass Watts, 73, and 24-year-old Eliyahu Moscowitz were both murdered in the span of about 36 hours back in 2018.

Around 10 a.m. Sept. 30, 2018, an unidentified man covered in black clothing head-to-toe shot Watts in the head while he was walking his dogs. The incident occurred on the 1400 block of West Sherwin Avenue, about a mile from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus (LSC).

The following day, Moscowitz was shot in the head around 10:20 p.m. at Loyola Park, half a mile from LSC, The Phoenix previously reported. Both men were killed within a mile of each other.

As of Oct. 5, no one is in custody and the investigation is open and ongoing, according to Chicago Police Department (CPD) spokeswoman Kellie Bartoli.

According to a 2018 CPD Community Alert, “The offender is described by witnesses as a black male, thin build, and wearing dark clothing.”

Surveillance footage released by CPD showed the suspected perpetrator walking along West Sherwin Avenue about an hour prior to killing Watts. Additional footage showed the suspect running down an alleyway minutes after Watts was shot and killed.

Following the murders, many members of both the Rogers Park and Loyola community were on edge. Rumors surrounding the perpetrator began circulating online, The Phoenix previously reported. The creation of a student-led Facebook group unaffiliated with Loyola called “RoamRoPo” (Rogers Park) provided an outlet for students to stay informed and buddy up when they felt unsafe walking alone at night.

Junior Emma Falk, a then-first year living in Campion Hall, said she found out about the murders through the news. As a member of the Club Rugby Team, Falk said the team was unable to practice at Loyola Park for a day following the second shooting.

“After the second [shooting], the dude just kinda left, so we never really heard about it again,” the 20-year-old anthropology and political science major said. “[But] there were still neighborhood watch posters up, sometimes.”

Although it’s unknown if the suspected killer left or remains in Rogers Park, police confirmed he wasn’t openly roaming the community after the murders, The Phoenix previously reported.

Less than two months after the incidents, then-CPD superintendent Eddie Johnson announced the reward for any information leading to the murderer’s arrest had increased from $23,000 to $150,000 — the biggest reward to date for information pertaining to the arrest and conviction of a murder suspect in the city.

During that same 2018 press conference, Johnson also highlighted CPD had “received over 430 independent leads.”

Recently, local activist Raul Montes announced the reward’s increase by $5,000 — bringing the total to $155,000. 

The gun involved in the shooting of Watts and Moscowitz was also used in an Oct. 15, 2018 Lawndale shooting, Alioto confirmed. Six months after the first Rogers Park shooting, the gun was also fired on the 2300 block of West Jackson Boulevard with no one injured, The Phoenix previously reported. However, it’s unclear if the perpetrator of the Rogers Park murders was also responsible for these incidents since it’s possible the gun changed hands, police told the Chicago Tribune in July 2019.

As of now, the killer’s motives are still unknown. There was initial speculation the two men were robbed. However, this claim has been dismissed.

Any information regarding the murders can be sent to CPD at 312-744-8261 or through an anonymous tip at CPDTip.com.

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