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College Student Paralyzed By Stray Bullet Dies At 20 After Telling Doctors To Pull The Plug
Max Lewis was taking the train home to his Chicago apartment when he was fatally shot in the neck by an unknown person.
A Chicago student has died after requesting he be taken off life support following a shooting last Thursday that left him paralyzed, his family has said.
Max Lewis, 20, was attending the University of Chicago for the summer when a stray bullet struck him in the back of the neck while commuting on a train, according to CBSN Denver. The Denver-native was on his way home when he was struck.
Lewis was rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center where doctors had to put him on life support, according to a GoFundMe memorial fund.
No arrests have been made at this time as police continue to investigate the shooting.
Lewis' mother, Dr. Rebecca Rivkin, said that her son was paralyzed from the neck down and not expected to be able to eat or walk again, according to Chicago’s WGN 9 News. He would also spend the rest of his life dependent on a ventilator, she told the station.
Lewis was mentally aware and able to blink "yes" and "no" to doctors and family. He was also able to communicate using a letter board.
“If I have to live like this, pull the plug,” he conveyed through the letter board. “Please, seriously.”
Lewis was taken off life support and died on Sunday morning, three days after the shooting, according to his family.
“To have his life taken away from him by someone completely random on his way back to his apartment is just terrifying and hurts too much that someone we know and are so close [to] could have this happen to them,” his friend, Victoria Gin, told CBSN Denver.
Police said Lewis was not the intended target when the bullet came through the Green Line CTA elevated train window on June 1.
Lewis had just finished a shift at his summer internship at an investment banking company, according to CBSN Chicago. He was set to enter his junior year at the university, where he was working towards earning a double major in economics and computer science.
“He was incredibly brave to the very end,” his friend, Zach Cogan, told WGN. “We really lost such an incredible human being who shaped everyone’s life. It’s just so senseless.”
The University of Chicago also released a statement after Lewis' death.
“The University of Chicago community is devastated by the loss of Max Solomon Lewis…,” it said in the statement. “Our deepest sympathies are with Max’s family, friends, and all who knew him. He was a talented student and beloved individual who will be greatly missed.”
Arrangements are underway for Lewis' funeral in Colorado.