A 17-year-old gunshot victim in Chicago has died after a tragic set of circumstances in which he initially was presumed dead but wasn’t.
Authorities said paramedics assessed the teenager, who had been shot in the head numerous times Monday morning, and thought he was dead. They draped him with a sheet outside a public housing development. Then, at one point, he began moving, police said.
First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio of the Chicago Police Department spoke at a news conference about the moment the victim was found to be alive.
“That individual has a catastrophic injury,” Riccio said. “He was shot in the head, and the prognosis is not good. I do understand that paramedics looked at him, believed him to be deceased, covered him with that sheet and moved on to another individual who was nearby who was also shot.”
He said officers then “saw motion, movement, beneath the sheet” and alerted paramedics, who started treatment. The victim was taken to a hospital in “very critical condition” and placed on life support, police said.
But police confirmed to The Washington Post that the teenager ultimately died about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Video from ABC affiliate WLS on Monday morning showed the victim covered with a white sheet on the ground, his chest rising with each breath. Authorities said it’s unclear how long he was there.
In audio released by WLS, police said the victim was responsive. “He just moved on the camera, moved his head from side to side and his arms, so he is not dead,” an officer said, according to the station.
Riccio told reporters that officers responded to numerous calls about shots fired about 4:45 a.m. Monday in an area where there is “ongoing gang conflict.” Police said that the shooting stemmed from a dispute at an overnight party and that at least four victims are known to them. Riccio added that none of the injured victims are cooperating with the investigation.
Police said a woman also was pronounced dead.
A third victim was shot in the leg, a fourth was shot in the arm and a fifth was shot numerous times in the abdomen. The victims were taken to hospitals and were listed in stable condition, police said.
A sixth victim was found to have a gunshot wound to the leg while at Rush Hospital. The victim was treated for the injury and released, police said.
The teenager’s death comes after 234 homicides were reported from Jan. 1 to June 18 in Chicago, according to police data.
Fire Commissioner José Santiago told WLS that authorities are still trying to determine how the paramedics initially presumed that the teenager was dead.
“We’re looking into it right now,” he told the station. “We’re trying to piece everything together. We’re looking at the computers where they put down all that information. Paramedics put down that information.”