Prosecutors say suspect in teacher’s death was shooting at rival

Written By BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter Posted: 07/14/2014, 06:27am
Array D'Andre Weaver, principal of Brooks Academy, talks on Friday about Betty Howard, a special education teacher at his school, who was shot Thursday as she sat inside a real estate office on 79th Street. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

Dominique Hodrick had an ongoing dispute with a man nicknamed “Nookie,” so when Hodrick saw his rival driving in a car on the South Side, he allegedly opened fire.

Hodrick missed “Nookie,” but he shot and killed veteran special education teacher Betty Howard in the chest while she worked her second job at Kale Reality, 735 E. 79th, Cook County prosecutors said.

A 58-year-old man who was also working at Kale Reality also suffered a graze wound to his abdomen when the bullets went through the office wall in the May 29 shooting.

And a 23-year-old woman walking her dog outside was left with a graze wound to her hand, Assistant State’s Attorney Glen Runk said before Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. ordered Hodrick held without bond Thursday.

Hodrick, 23, was inside a building on the opposite side of 79th Street when he saw “Nookie,” Runk said.

He then opened the front door, pulled a handgun from his waist and started shooting, Runk said.

According to a police report, another offender was with Hodrick at the time.

Howard, a 58-year-old special education teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, immediately fell to the floor when she was shot.

Hodrick went back into the building he was in after the shooting, Runk said.

He was caught on surveillance camera looking out the front door, opening the door and pulling out a weapon, Runk said.

Hodrick, of the 7900 block of South St. Lawrence, allegedly admitted he fired the shots and identified himself in the video stills.

He was also identified on tape by various police officers who had contact with him before.

Hodrick, who was arrested while riding in a car in Lansing Tuesday, was sentenced to two year’s probation in 2012 for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and for having a defaced firearm.

He has three previous misdemeanors for aggravated assault, reckless conduct, and criminal trespass to land.

Following Thursday’s bond hearing Howard’s husband and niece said they were glad Hodrick was off the streets and behind bars.

Howard had only started working at the real estate office three to four months ago, Kristal Long, 34, said.

She was trying to make “ends meet” and never felt as if she was in danger at the real estate office, Howard’s husband, Major Howard said.

Major Howard said his wife was a wonderful person who was “full of life” and “deserved to live.”

Long described her aunt as a “happy” and helpful person who was active in her church.

“If you can shoot a gun in broad daylight, with no regards for anyone out there, then absolutely, he [Hodrick] is a danger to society,” Long said.

“To know that she was at work. She was just trying doing her job and for something like this to happen, it makes it that much more harder to deal with.”


Twitter: @rummanahussain

Browse More 'Uncategorized'