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Video shows shootout in killing of retired firefighter during Morgan Park carjacking attempt

“You can see how horrific a crime this was, and we’re trying to bring these offenders to justice and give the family some peace in this as well,” said Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan on Monday.

Surveillance video of the murder of retired Chicago Firefighter Dwain Williams, last week, in the Morgan Park neighborhood, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Chicago police released surveillance video Dec. 7, 2020, of the murder of retired Chicago Firefighter Dwain Williams in Morgan Park.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Chicago police released surveillance video Monday of the shootout during a carjacking attempt that left a 65-year-old retired firefighter dead last week in Morgan Park on the Far South Side.

Dwain Williams was confronted by four carjackers just after 2 p.m. Dec. 3 after leaving the popcorn shop Let’s Get Poppin’, 11758 S. Western Ave., authorities said.

Williams exchanged gunfire with the carjackers and was shot in his abdomen. He died later at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Dwain Williams
Dwain Willaims
Chicago Fire Department

In the video of the shooting, which unfolded in just a few seconds, Williams is seen walking toward his Jeep with a bag in his hand when a car pulls up and three suspects jump out.

Williams then retreats behind his car as one of the suspects rushes toward him with a gun in his hand. Williams then pulls out his own gun and is seen firing shots at the suspect, who falls to the ground before jumping back into the car and fleeing.

“You can see how horrific a crime this was, and we’re trying to bring these offenders to justice and give the family some peace in this as well,” Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said at a news conference Monday at Chicago Police headquarters.

Investigators believe the suspects followed Williams to the popcorn shop after seeing his car earlier in the day, Deenihan said.

Williams was a beloved Chicago Fire Department lieutenant who retired about two years ago after joining in 1992, officials said. He was about to return to work as a civilian employee at the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

A group of activists and organizations, including the anti-violence group “I’m Telling, Don’t Shoot,” have put up a combined reward of $34,000 for information leading to any arrests in his killing.

Speaking at the news conference, Early Walker, founder of the group, lamented Williams’ killing in what seemed to be a routine trip to the store.

“He was trying to get some popcorn, and his life was taken over a vehicle,” Walker said. “Here is a man that gave his life to the city, finally was able to retire to try and enjoy his life and now his life has been taken.”

Community activist Andrew Holmes, who also contributed to the reward, implored the offenders’ family members to call detectives.

“Give any of us a call because sooner or later you’re gonna get a knock at your door and you’re gonna wish you had,” he said. “When you see this video...and you know that’s your relative, you know that’s your homie, think about your father. What if this was your father?”

Williams’ slaying comes amid a spike in carjackings across the city. Cops have responded to 1,254 carjackings so far this year, according to data maintained by the city. That’s a sharp increase from the 514 carjackings reported all of last year.

“It’s not just a Chicago problem; the carjackings all over Cook County and further out have been an issue,” Deenihan said. “Our carjacking task force has been doing an excellent job arresting these offenders. We just need to come up with a better comprehensive plan working with the entire criminal justice system in order to try and hold these offenders accountable.”