$150,000 Reward in Rogers Park Murders

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson announced today that the reward for information leading to the capture of the killer of Douglass Watts and Eliyahu Moscowitz has increased to $150,000. This is the largest reward ever offered in Chicago history. He said the reward  increased due to “…the generosity of an anonymous donor.”

The donation was made in behalf of Mr. Moscowitz, fatally shot as he walked in Loyola Park last month. The announcement was made near the spot where Mr. Moscowitz died.

The Superintendent noted that police have continued to search for the killer over the past 5 weeks. They are asking once again for the public’s  help. You can report your information anonymously, at which time you will be given a code that can be used to claim the reward should your information be verified and lead to the apprehension of the murderer.

A surveillance photo of the suspect appears below.

Please call 312/744-8261 or submit your tip to cookcountycrimestoppers.org.

 

 

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Tragedy and Grandstanding

There’s nothing like an alderman so crass that she exploits fear, grief, and mourning to help herself get re-elected.

The Jewish community is reeling from shock, grief, and fear over the murder of Eliyahu Moscowitz, one of two men murdered by an unknown killer in Rogers Park last month, and the synagogue killings in Pittsburgh. And Debra Silverstein both shares and exploits those emotions. She cannot do enough to comfort and protect the Jewish community:

  • Special bulletins were issued by her office providing updates on the hunt for Mr. Moscowitz’s killer.
  • The alderman attended his funeral.
  • A special “community safety meeting” was called on Oct. 4 so residents could hear top police brass discuss progress on the case and measures undertaken to ensure the safety of the Jewish community and its synagogues. [City officials stated that there were no overt threats. Nor is there any evidence that Mr. Moscowitz was targeted because he was Jewish.]
  • At the alderman’s request—or so she implies–police patrols were increased in the 50th Ward on the morning of the Pittsburgh shooting, with police visiting each synagogue and offering condolences and protection in addition to the police squads stationed outside the synagogues during the Sabbath.
  • The neighborhood was invited to an outdoor police roll call and prayer service for the eleven people killed at the Pittsburgh synagogue. (The roll call was canceled after the officers stood in formation for awhile because they had to get to work.)
  • The alderman’s newsletter featured four photos of the roll call/prayer service, two of which featured the alderman. .
  • The alderman has just announced another outdoor roll call, this one for Nov. 7 (today) on the 3600 block of Devon, and has invited residents to attend, adding that they will also have an opportunity to meet the new police commander of the 17th District.

Contrast all this with Silverstein’s actions in 2016, when two men were murdered in three days on Devon Avenue.

  • Silverstein dismissed the murders in her newsletter as “some shootings.” Both victims were men, one shot in a domestic dispute, the other executed gangland-style as he sat in a car outside a liquor store less than two blocks from Silverstein’s office
  • There were no bulletins on the hunt for the killers.
  • Silverstein did not attend the funerals.
  • There were no community safety meetings. No police brass were asked to address the community. No one—not the alderman, not the police—assured residents in the surrounding area that they were safe, or that extra measures were being taken to protect them. Yet we were scared, too.
  • The alderman did not call for or suggest increased police patrols in the area.
  • There were no outdoor police roll calls.
  • There were no photos of the alderman comforting frightened neighbors.

The lives of these two young men were no less valuable than that of Mr. Moscowitz or the Pittsburgh victims. Their life choices may have led them in very different directions, but they, too, were someone’s sons. They, too, had family and friends who mourn their loss. They, too, left a stunned and frightened community.

We all live in an increasingly unsafe world. While Jewish communities rightly and understandably have special concerns, having been targets for millennia, murder is a horror that terrifies every person and every community everywhere. One of the requirements for public servants is that they show compassion and understanding for every member of the community. It’s the art and the act of leadership. .

Silverstein is clearly exploiting the recent tragedies affecting the Jewish community for political gain. She has put her re-election first. Enough with the outdoor roll calls and photos of herself intruding on police business. This isn’t leadership.

Grandstanding is not the next best option. Taking photos at prayer services for later use in re-election materials is appalling.

Someone should tell Silverstein.

 

JUF Offers Reward to Help Capture Kiiller

The Jewish United Fund (JUF) is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the man responsible for two murders in Rogers Park earlier this week.

JUF’s president noted that members of Chicago’s LGBTQ and Jewish Orthodox communities are concerned that these shootings may have been targeted attacks against Douglas Wattts and Eliyahu Moscowitz because Mr. Watts was gay and Mr. Moscowitz was an Orthodox Jew.

No motive for the murders has been established by the police, although the same gun was used to kill both victims. Neither man was robbed, even though both carried cell phones, wallets, and credit cards.

A suspect was photographed by several surveillance cameras in the area of the first shooting, the 1400 block of West Sherwin Avenue, and these videos have been released to the public. A still photo of the suspect has also been released. Police are going door-to-door in the area of the second shooting, the bike path in Loyola Park at Lunt Avenue, in an effort to locate any surveillance videos which may show the same man in that area. 

 

 

 

Mr. Watts lived in Rogers Park. Mr. Moscowitz was a resident of the 50th Ward.

 

Community Meeting Tonight

Police officials will meet with 50th Ward residents tonight to update the community on the two murders in Rogers Park earlier this week.

The meeting will take place at the Bernard Horwich JCC, 3003 West Touhy Avenue, at 7:30 p.m.

Eliyahu Moscowitz, a 24-year-old 50th Ward resident, was one of two men shot by an unknown gunman. The other victim was 73-year-old Douglas Watts.

At a community meeting in Rogers Park on Wednesday night, police declined to speculate on a motive for the murders. Mr. Moscowitz was an Orthodox Jew, and Mr. Watts was gay. Members of the Orthodox and the gay communities have expressed concern that the men may have been targeted for whho they were. Police have established that the same gun was used in both murders.

Police believe the murderer lives in the Rogers Park neighborhood. They distributed flyers at last night’s meeting that more clearly show the heavily-disguised individual believed to have committed the crimes. The gunman hid his face with a cap, sunglasses, and a scarf.

Although the police have increased patrols throughout the community, and have added plainclothes officers and detectives, many residents said that they no longer walk alone and have unplugged from cell phones while out on the street.

Tonight’s meeting will be hosted by Alderman Silverstein.

Community Meeting on Rogers Park Murders

Joe Moore is hosting a community meeting at the Loyola Park Fieldhouse tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss the two murders in Rogers Park over the weekend. The Fieldhouse is at 1230 West Greenleaf (Sheridan & Greenleaf).

Police have confirmed that the same gun was used in both shootings and have released a surveillance photo of a “person of interest” taken as he walked on Sherwin Avenue. The Chicago Police have been joined in their investigation by agents from both the FBI and ATF ( Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms).

The two men appear to have been random targets.

Douglas Watts, a 73- year-old man walking his dogs, was shot in the head at 10:00 Sunday morning on the 1400 block of Sherwin Avenue.

Eliyahu Moscowitz, only 24 years old, was shot in the head and killed at 10:20 p.m. Monday night in Loyola Park on the pedestrian path at Lunt Avenue, next to the parking lot. Mr. Moscowitz was a resident of the 50th Ward.

Alderman Silverstein has announced that she will hold a community meeting about these murders on Thursday night but provided no details because the meeting had not been finalized.

A community alert was issued for the suspect, who is wanted for first degree homicide. Police ask that you not attempt to follow or confront this individual should you run into him. Instead, call 911 immediately and provide the location where he was seen. There is no indication the gun was recovered, so it’s safe to assume this man is armed and dangerous.

There is already some discussion on social media about citizen action to fight crime. It’s understandable that people are frightened but we should remember that West Ridge is one of the safest communities in the city. There is very little violent crime in our community, and no code of silence that would protect criminals. I think that citizen involvement is a great idea, but any proposed actions should first be discussed with the police. West Ridge formed a Community Watch group last year, and group members received training from the police so that they would remain safe during their walks around the neighborhood.

The West Ridge Community Watch is NOT a vigilante group. It is simply neighbors walking together and observing potential problems, such as unattended property or suspicious activity. It does not engage in racial profiling.

If you would like to be proactive in fighting crime, please contact your local CAPS coordinator or the 24th district CAPS office:

312/744-5907
CAPS.024district@chicagopolice.org

I offer my deepest sympathies to the Watts and Moscowitz families. May both men rest in peace.