A man was convicted for the murder of Rogers Park resident Wil Lewis, who happened to be on Devon Avenue in July 2014 when he was caught in a gang-shooting crossfire.
A Cook County jury convicted Eric Vaughn, 35, of first degree murder and attempted first degree murder Nov. 6, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. In an online statement about the conviction, 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore, who witnessed the shooting, said Vaughn is an Uptown native.
“I happened to be on Devon at the time of the shooting and witnessed the entire incident unfold. It continues to haunt me,” Moore said in the statement.
Wil Lewis was shot on Devon Avenue while standing at a bus stop. The bullet was believed to be meant for a different target and it was a gang-related shooting, Moore said.
Officials from the Cook County State’s Attorney declined to comment on the case other than to confirm the guilty verdict, citing post-trial litigation still ongoing.
According to Moore, Vaughn was driving with two young men, one 15 and the other 17, when they saw a rival gang member. Vaughn handed the 15-year-old a gun and ordered him to shoot the rival, but he accidentally struck Lewis, Moore said. Eyewitness accounts of the shooting as well as the car Vaughn was driving led to Vaughn’s arrest two hours after the shooting. The other two people in the car were found in Wisconsin a few weeks later, Moore said.
“The jury deliberated for about two hours before returning their verdict against Vaughn,” Moore said in his statement. “Coincidentally, the assistant state’s attorney who successfully prosecuted the case is a Rogers Park resident, Mike Hogan, who lives just a few blocks from the site of the shooting.”
Moore added that “community residents played an essential role in the apprehension of the individuals responsible for Wil Lewis’ death. Without their willingness to provide authorities with information, including descriptions of the assailants and their vehicle, the police could not have made the arrests and prosecutors would not have been able to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Vaughn is due back in court Dec. 6, before Judge William Gamboney at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building at 2650 S. California Ave.