Chicago, IL — Ryan Wilder is a 15-year-old boy who made history last month by becoming the youngest person to have ever played at the music festival Riot Fest in Chicago’s Douglas Park. He is the lead guitarist and vocalist for his band, Monarchy Over Monday. Unfortunately, however, Wilder may never be able to play music again after he was shot twice by police as they pursued and killed a robbery suspect.
“Will I ever be able to play guitar again?” was Wilder’s first question after coming out of surgery last week. According to his doctors, the answer to that question is unknown.
Wilder was shot in the abdomen and the arm, with one of the bullets shattering his bones.
According to the teen’s mother Lucia Morales, her son is now missing several arteries in his arm and a metal rod was surgically put into his wrist to hold it together. Morales told CBS Chicago that Rylan still does not have feeling in certain fingers and “at this moment, we don’t know if he will recover from that.”
Luckily, the bullet which struck him in the abdomen narrowly missed his major organs.
His parents have since filed a lawsuit and are questioning the story given to them by police. According to police, Rylan was interning at a music school, UpBeat Music and Arts, when a man ran into the school as he was pursued by police. When police saw the man, robbery suspect, Christopher Willis, they opened fire, killing him but shooting Rylan twice in the process.
Police say that Willis was suspected of robbing a bank several jurisdictions over and had led officers on a long chase before retreating into the music school.
Chicago Police were reportedly waiting as Willis exited the expressway after they say Willis shot and wounded one of their own. That officer has since been released from the hospital.
According to CBS Chicago, the family’s lawsuit contains the text messages between Rylan and his dad that night.
Before the shooting, Rylan asks, “could you pick me up at 7:15 please?”
His mom writes back, “yes — daddy will pick you up — he wants to see how the mini is running.”
Rylan says, “cool thanks” with a kiss emoji.
But nearly an hour later, mom writes “Hey is everything OK? Dad’s trying to get there, but everything is blocked off by police.”
Imagine the horror that this family felt after going to pick up their son at his job at a music school, seeing the police lights and not hearing back from Rylan. One couldn’t help but to imagine the worst, and that is just what they got. When they finally caught up with their son, he was bleeding out in a hospital bed.
“No one can ever imagine what it’s like to see their child on a table like that,” Morales told reporters. “The amount of doctors working on him the amount of blood everywhere was unbelievable.”
According to CBS Chicago, the family named the surviving bank robber, Maurice Murphy, in the suit. Murphy, 32, has been charged federally for stealing more than $15,000 from the bank.
The Wilder family’s attorney, Tim Cavanagh, explained to CBS Chicago that naming Murphy is actually a legal tactic to force all of the agencies involved in the police chase and shooting to produce evidence.
The point, he said, is “to determine whether or not Chicago or the Des Plaines police department have any culpability in this.”
One of the pieces of evidence their asking for is the Des Plaines Police Department pursuit policy, which the CBS 2 Investigators obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The first paragraph of that policy says balancing the safety of the public is as important as catching the suspect, and “hazards to uninvolved bystanders and motorists” should be a factor in terminating a pursuit. Apparently, however, that did not happen as Rylan was shot for merely being in the music school in which the suspect ran.
As for Rylan, he’s still in the hospital trying to recover. His family started a GoFundMe for him and as of Monday, it had raised over $58,000.
Sadly, police shooting innocent children while trying to kill suspects happens more than you’d think. Just this week, TFTP reported on the lawsuit filed by the family of Kameron Prescott, who was killed in his dad’s home by police who were killing an unarmed woman suspect.