Man convicted in killing of longtime CPD employee

A Cook County jury on Thursday convicted a man of killing a longtime civilian employee of the Chicago Police Department in 2015.

William Cochran, 26, was convicted of 10 counts of murder and attempted murder after a weeklong trial in the killing of John Buckner, 59, known as “Buck.” Another man was injured in the shooting.

Buckner was the uncle of Kam Buckner, a state representative who ran for mayor in 2023.

The jury deliberated for several hours Thursday afternoon at the Leighton Criminal Court Building before arriving at a verdict in the nearly decade-old killing.

Cochran was 18 when he was accused of shooting Buckner in his Morgan Park neighborhood on Sept. 16, 2015.

Three people on bicycles pulled out handguns and opened fire on five others sitting on a porch across the street, then turned and fatally shot Buckner as his wife and grandson watched the scene unfold, Cook County prosecutors said at a bond hearing shortly after Cochran’s arrest.

Buckner and his wife threw themselves to the ground to try to avoid the gunfire, but Buckner was hit in his side and later died at a hospital, prosecutors said. Buckner’s wife suffered a chipped tooth, cuts to her chin and face, and a busted lip in her bid to escape the gunfire, according to prosecutors.

Police at the time said the shooting appeared to have stemmed from a gang fight in a neighborhood park, and they did not believe Buckner was the target.

Buckner had proudly bought a new Dodge Charger just before the shooting, according to Tribune stories, and was unloading groceries from it shortly before the attack.

He worked for the Police Department for 25 years, and had handled equipment and supplies for the department when he was killed, police said.

“He’s part of the family,” a deputy chief said after the slaying. “The Chicago Police Department is a family, whether you’re sworn or civilian.”