Uptown Shooting Victim on Life Support Unlikely to Recover, Girlfriend Says
UPTOWN — A man shot alongside four others Monday remains on life support, but after visiting him in the hospital, his girlfriend said he will not recover.
The man, identified by friends as Darius Oliver, 21, was shot just before 6 p.m. Monday near Uptown Baptist Church, in the 4500 block of Sheridan Road, officials said.
Four others were also hospitalized in the shooting, including a 26-year-old man who had an arm amputated at Illinois Masonic Hospital due to the severity of his wounds, friends said.
The men were standing along the south sidewalk of Wilson Avenue near Sheridan Road when a white two-door car pulled up, and two people fired shots from the car, which then fled, police said. The bloody crime scene was in the middle of a "Safe Passage" route where students from the shuttered Stewart School will walk to get to nearby Brenneman Elementary starting next week.
Police initially said Oliver had died, but girlfriend Brianna Williams, 18, who visited Oliver in the hospital multiple times since the shooting, said Wednesday he was on life support, his head covered in bandages.
Williams said Oliver is brain dead and unlikely to recover. Doctors will eventually "pull the plug ... and then he'll end up in the morgue," she said.
Oliver had just gotten off work from his job as a janitor and was on his way to a nearby McDonald's to get food for her when the shooting took place, Williams said at a vigil for the victims at the scene of the shooting Wednesday evening.
"Not five minutes later, I heard gunshots," she said.
Multiple bullets struck Oliver — three in his right leg, one in his left leg, one in his shoulder and "a few in his head," she said.
"He got shot right after he kissed me goodbye," Williams said at the spot on the sidewalk where she first saw Oliver laying after the shooting.
After the shooting, her friends tried to keep her away from the scene, but she ran back over, where she saw a her boyfriend severely wounded. According to authorities, "an assault-style weapon" may have been used on the group.
Williams recounted seeing police arrest one suspect after a car that matched witness accounts was found nearby. Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said three suspects were in police custody on Tuesday, but police officials did not confirm that.
Of the suspected four men witnesses said were in the vehicle, another fled to a Subway nearby on Wilson Avenue, according to an employee who witnessed the man sit down and ask to use the washroom before buying three cookies "all with change in his pockets."
He then crossed the street to Starbucks, the employee said, where he tried to hide in the women's bathroom before an officer announced "I have a gun" — at which point the suspect promptly opened the door and was arrested, according to a Starbucks employee on duty that night.
Police said some of the injured men are believed to have gang affiliations and that the shooting might be gang-related. Williams said one of the men in the group was in a gang, but she said Oliver was not.
Oliver had moved to Chicago a couple months ago from California to reconnect with his mother, Williams said. The mother and son had talked for the first time in about two years shortly before he was shot, she said.
Oliver loved to rap, play basketball and do handstands near the spot where he was nearly killed, his friends said. According to Williams, he kept to himself and most days the two would stay home together and watch TV.
State Rep. Greg Harris, whose district includes Uptown, was one of the concerned Uptown residents praying at Oliver's vigil Wednesday night, his hands locked with others in a circle outside the church. Harris said he lives “just three blocks up” from the site of the shooting, at Wilson and Magnolia — in a different gang's territory. Harris was worried about retaliation shootings there.
Referring to Oliver, Harris said: “This could happen to any of us.
“This could have happened to anybody who was just walking down the street and you get caught in the crossfire. I walk up and down here all the time — it could have been me, it could have been any one of these people,” Harris said.
Williams was in tears as she spoke at the vigil alongside friends of hers and Oliver's, many of whom had grown up in and out of group homes. The couple were supposed to be married on Jan. 31, Oliver's birthday, she said.
"He loved to sing," she said. "We used to sing together, but now I don't want to sing anymore."