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'Selfless’'Chicago Mom Fatally Shot By Off-Duty Police Officer Boyfriend
“She was a beautiful person,” Chquita Bell-Craig said of her sister, Andris Wofford, who was fatally shot in northwest Chicago on Dec. 16.
A 29-year-old mother of two who devoted her life to working with teenagers in Illinois’ foster care system was gunned down earlier this month by her boyfriend, an off-duty police officer.
Andris Wofford was shot and killed during an alleged domestic dispute with her boyfriend, Pierre Tyler, at her apartment in the northwest side of Chicago on Dec. 6, according to reports.
Tyler, 29, a Chicago police officer, was off-duty at the time of the shooting in which he is a suspect, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He’s been charged with first-degree murder and was stripped of his police powers,
According to Cook County prosecutors, the pair had been dating and had a 9 month-old child together, WLS-TV reported. Wofford and Pierre had one prior domestic violence disturbance in which police were called, but charges were never filed.
Then on Dec. 5, the couple got into an argument over Tyler's clandestine relationship with another woman with whom he'd had a child during his relationship with Wofford. The dispute stemmed from Wofford's discovery that Tyler was facing an approaching child support court hearing regarding the extramarital affair, according to officials.
The following day, Tyler went to Wofford’s apartment around 4 p.m., according to surveillance footage which captured him entering her building. Wofford later messaged relatives, requesting they pick up her daughter from child care.
At approximately 7 p.m., neighbors heard shouting coming from the apartment, followed by a loud bang roughly 90 minutes later, prosecutors said. No further disturbances were heard.
The security recordings showed Tyler departing the building shortly after 9 p.m. with what appeared to be a firearm inside a holster strapped to his back.
Wofford’s family ultimately called police on the morning of Dec. 7 after she failed to pick up her child from her parents’ home. Police found Wofford just inside her apartment door with a fatal gunshot wound to her head.
Under questioning, Tyler admitted he’d been at Wofford’s apartment the day of her murder, but claimed he left at around 9 p.m. to meet an unidentified informant. His own partners, however, denied being with him and, during a recent court appearance, prosecutors also noted it was “abnormal” for him to perform such detective work on his own.
Tyler was booked into a Cook County detention center on Dec. 11, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. He’s being held without bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 5.
A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department didn't immediately reply to questions surrounding the case on Tuesday. No further information was released by officials regarding the open case.
Tyler, who first joined the Chicago Police Department as a tactical officer in 2016, previously served for eight years in the U.S. Army, WFLD reported. His service included two combat deployments.
Wofford’s sister confirmed the Illinois mother’s death on social media this week. Her family is planning a funeral for Dec. 28.
“It’s just so shocking that we’re doing this,” Chquita Bell-Craig told Oxygen.com over the telephone from Houston, Texas on Tuesday. “I’m just lost for words — I’m lost. It’s so unexpected, so sudden, we never saw this coming. We’re numb.”
Wofford had two daughters, Ava, 6, and the 9-month-old Averie, her sister said.
“She was a beautiful person,” Bell-Craig said. “She loved, and loved, and loved her girls. She loved her job, school, her family — everything. Her life were those girls. Averie won’t even know her mom or her dad now. This is horrible.”
Wofford who came from a large family, also leaves behind six siblings. Her family described her as “vibrant,” “sweet” and “full of life.”
“She was the piece to the puzzle that holds all our siblings together,” Bell-Craig said.
Wofford had been enrolled at Chicago’s Dominican University where she was pursuing a masters degree in social work, her family said. The university has since announced a legacy scholarship for Wofford’s daughters. The 29-year-old had previously earned a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University.
"The thoughts and prayers of the entire Dominican University community are with Andris Wofford’s family following her tragic demise," Jessica Mackinnon, the school's Director of Public Information, said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com. "In memories shared by her faculty, Andris was celebrated as being full of life, compassionate, determined, deeply rooted and grounded in justice, and a promising social worker. She is also remembered as a loving mother."
For the past five years, Wofford had worked as a case manager for Child Link, a Chicago child welfare service that offers adoptions, foster care, transitional living services, and youth counseling.
“We were all very hard-hit by this news,” Malia Arnett, Child Link’s CEO, told Oxygen.com on Tuesday. “It’s overwhelming. It’s a big tragedy. She was very young — she was only 29 years old.”
Wofford typically worked with teenagers between the ages of 16 to 19 who had experienced extended stays in foster care.
“She became a person in their lives who offered stability and support as they navigated adolescence,” Arnett explained. “These were youth who had no stable adult to help guide them and provide them with the nurturance and the support that they needed.
Wofford, will be remembered as an “energetic,” “caring,” and “nurturing,” youth case manager who was a “tremendous” support for the teenagers she worked with, her employer said.
“She was incredibly selfless in helping those children, those young adults, achieve stabilization and success,” Arnett said.