CHICAGO — A Chicago teenager who had been shot in the head multiple times was presumed dead and covered with a sheet by paramedics before onlookers noticed he was still moving, police and fire officials said Tuesday.
Erin Carey, a 17-year-old who had just graduated from high school, was shot in the head on Chicago’s West Side early Monday and responding paramedics apparently believed he had suffered fatal head wounds, police officials said. They covered his body in a sheet and tended to other victims.
The Chicago Tribune reported that witnesses alerted officers and paramedics that Carey appeared to twitch under the sheet. On police 911 audio, an officer is heard notifying EMS at the scene that Carey appeared to move “from side to side” under the sheet.
“He is responsive,” the officer said. “He just moved … from side to side and his arms. So he is not dead.”
“We’ll have a unit go down and check on that male,” a dispatcher responded.
WLS reported its cameras were on scene at least 15 minutes before paramedics removed the sheet and began administering CPR. News footage showed the teenager appearing to breathe under the sheet.
Chicago Police First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio told reporters that Carey had suffered a “catastrophic injury.”
“He was shot in the head… 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. They saw motion, movement underneath the sheet. Officers who were present notified paramedics.”
Carey was eventually taken to a hospital in critical condition. He died at 1:19 a.m. Tuesday, WLS reported.
Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said the response by paramedics was under investigation, according to WLS. “We’re looking into it right now,” he said. “We’re trying to piece everything together,”
Police were also investigating.
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said detectives were investigating whether Carey may have been involved in the escalation of the shooting incident. A Mac-10 machine pistol was found in the street near Carey’s body, he said.
A 22-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene, WLS reported. Four other people, ranging in age from 21 to 25, were wounded.
Carey was a summer intern at a senior living facility in Chicago, according to his family’s pastor.
“To be honest with you, I was doubly shocked when I heard about Erin,” the Rev. Charlie Dates said. “It’s one thing to hear about a kid … involved in an incident, but Erin was the exact opposite. … He was a friendly, respectful, quiet good-looking kid. He just had a great smile.”
Carey was one of nine people killed in Chicago over the June 15 weekend, police said.
At least 56 people were shot, making it the most violent weekend of the year — one resembling weekends of the previous two years when murder rates soared. At least 650 people were killed in 2017 and 771 people were killed in 2016, the most violent year in Chicago in 20 years.
Before last weekend, the police department had touted a significant drop in gun-related shootings and killings all year. There have been 15 consecutive months of declining gun violence, according to police.
Through the first five months of this year, there were 229 fewer shootings and 52 fewer killings, representing a 21% drop in gun violence, according to police. In the month of May, police recorded a 21% decline in killings compared to 2017.
But last weekend was the hottest of the year in Chicago, testing the city’s ability to control violence when much of the population is outdoors. Temperatures reached close to 100 degrees all weekend and Sunday was the hottest Father’s Day in Chicago in 20 years, with a heat index that made it feel like 109 degrees in the city.
Dates said he spoke with Carey’s mother on Tuesday morning. “She’s obviously very disturbed,” he said.
Dates said Carey had just graduated from a high school in suburban Evanston, where his family enrolled him to keep him away from the violence on Chicago’s South Side.
The school released a statement Tuesday that said, in part, “The Evanston Township High School family is deeply saddened by the loss of a member of our class of 2018. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Erin’s family and friends, our students, and staff.”
Dates said he was at the hospital Monday night comforting Carey’s family members, something he does frequently given the violence in the city.
“Erin’s grandmother was in the emergency room,” he said. “She was so calm and kept saying, ‘It’s all in his hands. It’s all in Gods hands.'”