Rogers Park

Record $150,000 Reward Offered in Hunt for Rogers Park Killer

The reward was at $23,000 before an infusion of moneyf rom area residents

The reward for information in the apprehension of a suspect in two brutal killings in Rogers Park has increased to $150,000, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced Thursday. 

That amount of money is a city record, according to Johnson, and is aimed at apprehending the man behind two execution-style killings in the neighborhood earlier this year. 

"Someone knows who did this," Johnson said. "We will find that person that committed these actions in our community." 

The reward was raised by area residents and businesses, according to Johnson. The Rogers Park Builders Group, the Jewish Federation of Metro Chicago, community activist Raul Montes, and Crime Stoppers of Cook County are among those who contributed to the reward. 

The first fatal shooting in Rogers Park claimed the life of 73-year-old Willard Douglass Watts, who was walking his dogs at 10:07 a.m. Sept. 30 near his home in the 1400 block of West Sherwin when he was shot in the head at close range, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The reward has grown for information leading to the capture of a man who murdered two people in Rogers Park.

About 10:20 p.m. the following day, Eliyahu Moscowicz, a 24-year-old man of the Orthodox Jewish faith, was walking on the Loyola Park bike path near Lunt Avenue when someone fatally shot him in the head, authorities said. He lived in West Rogers Park.

Some residents say the initially increased police presence here in Rogers Park has since diminished. So, they are watching each others backs. Ash-har Quraishi reports.

At an Oct. 2 press conference, police said the killings were carried out using the same gun, and possibly by the same shooter. In addition, authorities released surveillance video of the suspect walking near the scene of the first killing. The thin black male is seen in the footage wearing all-dark clothing and a hooded mask.

“This person is clearly trying to disguise themselves,” Johnson said at the time. “Clearly he or she knows what they are going out to do.”

Since then, police have received over 430 independent leads on the suspect, but have not made any arrests in the case. 

Investigators initially thought Watts was killed during a robbery, but Johnson said nothing had been stolen from either man. Police haven’t identified a potential motive in the slayings, but Johnson didn’t rule out the possibility of a hate crime.

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