Community members on the South Side are outraged after the death of a 58-year-community activist known as "The Mayor."
"I feel like crap because this was a good guy, and he helped everybody,” said Lee McCollum, Sr.
The loss of a child is never easy, but for the past year, Lee McCollum Sr. has had to adapt. His son, Lee, Jr., a graduate of Fenger and prom king, was murdered in West Pullman last year in an act of gun violence. The same type of violence that took Willie Cooper Saturday, a man McCollum says gave him a job when no one else would.
“For him to get killed where he works at, that's crazy,” McCollum said.
Cooper, or "Big Willie" as he's known around the 100 block of west 95th near Roseland, was killed Saturday in what police describe as a drive-by. Someone in a car pulled up and fired at least 20 rounds toward his direction, killing the man so many around the area say worked actively to combat violence, and more. He gave jobs to felons and even helped kids pay for school when they needed it.
Those heartbroken and shook by his loss gathered to honor his name.
“We represent the spirit of Willie Cooper out here on this block, and so if they could do it to him, they could do it to us.”
And finding who "they" are is a top priority for people in the community.
Police have not said whether Cooper was the intended target of the shooting. Family and friends say he worked actively to combat violence, which may have made him a target.
Police have no suspects in custody.