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No bond for man charged with shooting man in face at point-blank range

On Aug. 19, in broad daylight, Willie Wheeler shot Dwayne L. Thomas twice in the face as the two argued in front of several witnesses outside a building in the South Side Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, according to prosecutors.

But while an accomplice was taken into custody the next day, Wheeler remained on the lam until Wednesday night, when he led police on a chase through the South Side before being captured.

On Friday, Judge Ada Bourgeois ordered the 21-year-old Wheeler held without bond.

Prosecutors say that about 1:20 p.m. on Aug. 19, Wheeler and Devonte Watson saw the victim on a porch in the 4700 block of South Harvard with two friends, and Wheeler and Thomas got into a verbal argument as other witnesses watched from inside.

Wheeler then pulled a gun and, from point-blank range, shot Thomas twice, once in the chin and once in the cheek, prosecutors said. Thomas’ friends turned to run, and Watson tried to fire a gun at them, but it jammed.

Thomas, 20, died at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn less than an hour later, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Watson, of the 4700 block of South Normal, was arrested the day after the shooting. He was charged with murder and is being held on a $1 million bond, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.

Devonte Watson | Chicago Police

About 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, officers spotted Wheeler in a vehicle at a gas station near 76th and State, according to prosecutors.

As officers approached, he sped away and a man in the back of the vehicle pointed a weapon at the officers, prosecutors said. One of the officers fired toward the vehicle, but no one was hit.

Wheeler’s vehicle ran through several stops before it crashed into a pole and another vehicle in the 9500 block of South Halsted, where both men got out of the car and ran, prosecutors said. Wheeler was found by a canine unit hiding in a garage about an hour later, prosecutors said. Officers recovered a weapon from the vehicle, according to police.

Wheeler, of the 7800 block of South Avalon, is charged with murder and resisting an officer. He has previous convictions for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in 2011, possession of a stolen vehicle in 2011, and reckless conduct in 2015.