In the early hours of March 4, 2016, Courtney Copeland left a pizza restaurant and drove to a friend’s house to spend the night. Fifteen minutes later, he was flagging down police officers at the 25th district station in Chicago asking for help. He had been shot in the back through the window of his car.
Copeland’s mother, Shapearl Wells, was devastated when police informed her that her son was pronounced dead about an hour later, after he was brought to the hospital, Oxygen reported. However, she soon became frustrated when her questions about the murder investigation all led to dead ends and a lack of answers from the Chicago Police Department. Wells criticized the police investigation and told Oxygen:
What happened to my son, the way he was treated as a suspect as opposed to a victim is what happens in everyday Black America that doesn’t get highlighted. I just wanted to highlight how many other Courtneys there are out there. How many people are actually dying because they have eight to 10 cops watching them bleed to death because that is what happened to my son.
Where is the investigation now, five years after Copeland’s death? Has his murder been solved?
The Murder Is Unsolved & No Updates to the Investigation Have Been Shared With the Public Recently
To date, no one has been arrested and charged with Copeland’s murder and the Chicago Police Department now considers the killing a “cold case,” according to the Chicago Reader. The police department occasionally shares information about the killing on its social media channels, although with the wrong neighborhood and streets listed.
Freedom of Information Act requests to the Chicago Police Department filed by Copeland’s mother yielded video, documents and police records regarding the case, the Chicago Reader reported. Copeland’s mother Shapearl Wells began investigating his death herself and found out that dozens of witnesses who had important information had never been interviewed by police officers.
With the help of journalist Alison Flowers, Wells investigated her son’s murder and later shared conversations she had with detectives who were dismissive of her concerns, especially after another person in a BMW was killed in the same area as Copeland two years later.
Copeland’s Mother Started a Podcast to Bring More Light to the Case & Find Answers to Her Son’s Killing
Wells and Flowers began looking into his death to find answers and with the Invisible Institute in Chicago, they started a podcast called “Somebody.” Throughout the course of the podcast, Flowers and Wells interviewed countless witnesses and investigated Copeland’s murder, eventually coming up with the location of the shooting and possible suspects.
At the end of the podcast, Flowers told Oxygen they gave police the “road map” and information they gathered to track down the suspects in Copeland’s killing, but many of the witnesses identified by the two women have yet to be contacted by police, the outlet reported.
Wells also created the Courtney Copeland Memorial Foundation, which provides violence prevention programs; tutoring, college and career readiness programs and more to underprivileged and disenfranchised inner-city communities, according to its website.