Afternoon Edition: Dec. 17, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Dwain Williams (right) was confronted by three gunmen in an attempted carjacking Dec. 3 after he left a popcorn shop.

Chicago police (left)/ Chicago Fire Dept.

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

A chance of flurries is in the forecast for this afternoon, which will see a high near 36 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 26 degrees. Tomorrow will be cloudy and windy, with a high near 41 degrees.

Top story

15-year-old charged in murder of retired firefighter was part of ‘calculated’ carjacking attempt, prosecutors said

A 15-year-old boy is facing a murder charge in the fatal shooting of a retired Chicago firefighter earlier this month outside a Morgan Park popcorn shop.

The teen, who is not being named because he is charged as a juvenile, was unarmed at the time of the shooting. He was with two other people who had guns when they confronted 65-year-old Dwain Williams at gunpoint on Dec. 3 in an apparent attempt to rob him, Cook County prosecutors said in court today.

The group allegedly followed Williams in a stolen car as he drove to Let’s Get Poppin’ at 11758 S. Western Ave., and then waited for him to return. “The time it took to follow and lay in wait for the victim shows a calculated plan,” Assistant State’s Attorney Sophia David said in court.

Surveillance cameras recorded Williams as he drove by a gas station, where the group was parked in a black Ford Fusion that had been reported stolen days earlier in the south suburbs, prosecutors said. It also recorded the Ford Fusion as it allegedly followed Williams.

Other surveillance cameras recorded the car drive by the popcorn shop after Williams went inside, make a U-turn and eventually park about three spaces away from his SUV, prosecutors said.

In the video of the shooting, which unfolded in a few seconds, Williams is seen walking toward his Jeep with a bag in his hand when he is approached by two people with guns, authorities said. Williams retreats behind his car as one of the suspects rushes toward him with a gun in his hand. Williams pulls out his own gun and is seen firing at the suspect, who falls to the ground before jumping back into the car and eventually fleeing.

Williams was shot in the abdomen during the incident and later died at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Nothing was taken during the robbery attempt, officials said.

Shortly afterward, one of the offenders called his girlfriend and asked to borrow her car, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said surveillance cameras later captured both cars driving together. The Ford was found abandoned Dec. 5.

The 15-year-old was arrested the next day and initially charged with criminal trespass to a vehicle, prosecutors said. Records allegedly showed the boy’s phone was at the scene of the murder and also in the area where the stolen Ford was located, prosecutors said.

DNA and fingerprints recovered from the Ford also led to identifying the teen, including prints on the car’s license plate and roof of the car, and witnesses further identified him from still photos taken from surveillance footage, according to prosecutors.

He faces multiple counts of first-degree murder, as well as a count of armed robbery, officials said. No charges against any other suspects have been announced.

The teen is a high school freshman in Chicago Heights, where he lives with his mom and sister, and is active in sports and the local Boys and Girls Club, his assistant public defender Courtenay Harris said.

Read Matthew Hendrickson’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. A labor court has denied the Chicago Teachers Union’s attempt to delay Chicago Public Schools’ planned January reopening, a setback for the union that was looking to fully bargain with the district over the return to schools for the first time during the pandemic. Still, the union says it will keep working to pause the district’s reopening until it’s satisfied schools are safe for its members.
  2. Public health officials today announced the coronavirus has killed another 181 residents and spread to 8,828 more, the highest daily figures the state has reported in a week. The new cases were confirmed among 92,015 tests, lowering the average statewide positivity rate to 8.4%.
  3. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration denied to federal investigators that it helped General Iron’s owner relocate its car-shredding operation to the Southeast Side from Lincoln Park, despite a previous agreement to assist in the company’s “expeditious transition” to the new location. “The proposed expansion is not a relocation of General Iron’s operation … but an entirely distinct effort undertaken by a different entity,” city lawyers wrote to the feds.
  4. A 15-year-old boy is charged with murdering an 18-year-old nursing student in a February shooting at an Avalon Park convenience store. Jaya Beemon was among five innocent bystanders shot in the Feb. 25 incident.
  5. The Shamrock Shuffle, which kicks off the outdoor running season in Chicago, is back in 2021 as a virtual event after being canceled earlier this year due to the pandemic. The race will involve participants running “in neighborhoods across the city” for an 8K, two-mile or one-mile run in March.
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A bright one

Chicago area medical professionals among orchestra’s Carnegie Hall virtual performance

A group of medical professionals, including some on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic here in Chicago, will take the stage — sort of — at a world-renowned venue tonight.

The National Virtual Medical Orchestra — made up of doctors, nurses and others in the medical field who are also gifted musicians — will be performing their final virtual concert of the year as part of “Live With Carnegie Hall: Music is Medicine.”

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The National Virtual Medical Orchestra consists of medical professionals across the country — some of which work at Chicago area hospitals — playing various instruments. | Provided

The 75-member group was formed after orchestras around the country were forced to shut down programming indefinitely due to the pandemic. They will be performing the Pas de Deux from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.“

For Aasheeta Parikh, a violin-playing physician assistant with Naperville’s Edward-Elmhurst Health’s neurosciences program, the performance will be her Carnegie Hall debut.

“For us to present [at Carnegie Hall] is a dream come true for any musician, so I’m definitely excited; I’ve been sharing it with my friends and family and asking my co-workers to watch,” said Parikh. “I’m really grateful for the group.”

Read Evan F. Moore’s full story here.

From the press box

The Bears need a win over the Vikings on Sunday to keep their already slim playoff hopes alive, but Minnesota has won five of its last seven. Our experts make their picks for Week 15.

And Bulls first-round pick Patrick Williams got the start ahead of Otto Porter Jr. last night and impressed in the team’s preseason win over the Thunder. Williams came off the bench in college, but he’s in the mix to start as an NBA rookie.“I think keeping an open mind toward that is not out of the question,’’ coach Billy Donovan said.

Your daily question☕

What’s something nice you’ve done for someone this holiday season?

Email us(please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: If you’re cooking, what do you plan on making for Christmas dinner this year, and how will it differ from years past?Here’s what some of you said…

“I’m cooking a roast with mashed potatoes and veggies for my husband and children. We usually are with my extended family for Christmas Eve (and have lasagna or similar Italian food) or Christmas Day (usually beef and/or ham), but we want to keep everyone safe this year by staying home.”— Tricia Fitzgerald

“This year it’s lasagna. Most other years it’s been roast beef dinner.”— Laura Canales

“After cooking a huge elaborate meal for Thanksgiving, a few years ago I started a tradition of having pizza for Christmas.I’ll still do desserts, but that’s about it.”— Lynn Wilson

“Our family is a blended family. I am Puerto Rican and my husband is Filipino. Typically, our Christmas dinners include dishes that celebrate both cultures. However, this year the dishes will be primarily Filipino dishes: pansit, lumpia, siopao and lechon. We are going to make the lumpia and siopao from scratch with family via Zoom. Wish us luck!”— Yolanda Natal-Santos

“Chili. I’ll be able to enjoy it alone. Best Christmas ever.”— Ryan Michael Flynn

“Cooking for 5 instead of 36!”— Mary Reynen Bart

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed?Email us here.

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