Suspect accused of killing WGN-TV security guard during carjacking told police the shooting ‘wasn’t supposed to happen.’

Gregory Watson said he fired his gun because Salena Claybourne “was reaching and pushing him,” according to prosecutors.

SHARE Suspect accused of killing WGN-TV security guard during carjacking told police the shooting ‘wasn’t supposed to happen.’
Salena Claybourne.


A man accused of killing a WGN-TV security guard during a carjacking told police he “wanted her car and that was it,” saying the fatal shooting “wasn’t supposed to happen,” Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.

Gregory Watson, 22, also admitted to investigators this wasn’t his first time trying to steal a car, telling investigators “other times he’s taken cars, he’s only played like he had a gun,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said during a bond hearing.

Bail was denied for Watson, who’s facing charges of first-degree murder and attempted vehicular hijacking in the killing of Salena Claybourne. The hearing was held one day after his younger brother, Daemeontae Watson, was also ordered held without bail on the same charges.

The attack happened around 3 p.m. Tuesday when the brothers ambushed Claybourne as she sat in her SUV at a South Shore gas station in the 6700 block of South Jeffery, Murphy said.

Daemeontae Watson went to the passenger side of her car, while Gregory leaned toward the driver side. “Within seconds,” Gregory Watson, wearing all black and a ski mask, fired at least two shots at Claybourne, hitting her in the face and shoulder, Murphy said.

The shooting was captured on the gas station’s surveillance cameras. Video shows the brothers running from the scene, with Daemeontae Watson throwing a gun over a fence before jumping it and picking the gun back up, Murphy noted.

Officers recovered two 9mm handguns near where Daemeontae was arrested soon afterwards, and ballistic testing indicated the shells found at the gas station matched one of the guns, Murphy said.

The gas station attendant, who knew Claybourne as a regular customer, saw the murder and identified the brothers afterward, the prosecutor said.

Gregory Watson, who was found in a nearby backyard, waived his Miranda rights and gave a video statement, where he admitted he didn’t intend to shoot the mother of two, Murphy said.

He said “the victim was reaching and pushing him,” and he “flashed the gun so the victim could see it,” Murphy said.

Gregory Watson didn’t know how many times his gun was fired. But he said in previous carjackings “he’s only played like he had a gun,” Murphy said.

After the gunfire, Gregory Watson said he saw Claybourne was “still moving” and aimed his gun at her, though he said he didn’t fire the gun again, Murphy said.

Gregory Watson said it was his brother’s idea to hide the guns. He is due back in court March 28.

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