Chicago man was out on bond in attempted murder case when he allegedly killed 2 men during ‘video shoot party’

Absalom Coakley | Chicago police

A man free on bond in an attempted murder case shot and killed two men during a "video shoot party" last month in North Lawndale, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Absalom Coakley and the two victims were among roughly 50 people who showed up to the Sept. 24 party at a home in the 1300 block of South Harding Avenue, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher Nugarus.

A fight "erupted" in the kitchen early the next morning, he said. 

Coakley, 29, fired a single shot with a .40-caliber handgun, striking 29-year-old Terrance Johnson Jr. in the back of the head, according to Nugarus and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

A short time later, Coakley and 30-year-old Terrance Young got into a separate altercation outside, officials said. Coakley fired a shot at Young’s face before fleeing in a vehicle with two other people.

Surveillance video captured the second shooting and showed Coakley wearing "distinct clothing," including a sweatshirt with a large "V" on the back, Nugarus said. He was seen wearing the same sweatshirt in surveillance footage taken at a nearby gas station shortly before the shootings.

Witnesses identified Coakley from the videos, and one picked him in a photo lineup as the person who shot Young.


Coakley was arrested Oct. 3 in the 3300 block of West Ohio Street while getting into a rideshare vehicle, according to Nugarus and Chicago police. Nugarus said he was carrying a .40-caliber handgun, which is now undergoing ballistics testing.

He was charged with felony counts of first-degree murder and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, officials said.

At the time of his arrest, Coakley was free on a $15,000 deposit bond in an attempted murder case filed in 2016, Nugarus said.

He was also on probation in a felony drug case from 2014 that was still considered "open and pending" because he repeatedly violated the conditions, Nugarus said. Before that, he was sentenced to two years in prison on a felony count of fleeing and eluding.

Coakley’s public defender, Christopher Anderson, described his client as a hardworking father of four who has significant ties to his community. Anderson said Coakley coaches football, works with the Chicago Park District and plays piano at a church where he also volunteers.

Anderson raised questions about the circumstances of both shootings, including whether they were accidental or his client acted in self-defense. He also questioned whether Coakley was provoked or was engaged in "mutual combat" with the victims.

Nugarus pushed back, noting that Johnson was shot in the back of the head and Young’s slaying was captured on video.

Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Coakley held without bail in the new case, as well as the other pending cases in which he violated the terms of his release.

"I find that based upon these charges, he’s a clear and present danger to the community," she said.