A University of Chicago student died Sunday, several days after being struck by a stray bullet while commuting home from an internship after reportedly signaling to his family that he wanted to be removed from life support.
Max Soloman Lewis, 20, was commuting on the city's Green Line during rush hour on July 1 from his internship at an investment firm in downtown Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. While sitting inside the train, a bullet pierced the window and struck the back of his neck at the 51st Street/Washington Park Station, the Chicago Police Department said.
He died Sunday morning after he was taken off life support, the newspaper reported. Authorities said Lewis wasn't the intended target and it wasn't clear where the gunfire came from.
WGN spoke with his mother, Dr. Rebecca Rivkin, who said her son was alert, but the bullet caused catastrophic damage. He was paralyzed from the neck down and would likely need a ventilator for the rest of his life, the report said.
He reportedly communicated with doctors and family by blinking. He spelled out on a letter board, "If I have to live like this, pull the plug please. Seriously."
Investigators have not released a description of the shooter.
Max Lewis, 20, a college student in Chicago, died Sunday, days after he was struck by a stray bullet while sitting inside a train during his commute home from an internship.
Max Lewis, 20, a college student in Chicago, died Sunday, days after he was struck by a stray bullet while sitting inside a train during his commute home from an internship. (Zachary Cogan / GoFundMe)
"Max was an intelligent, caring, compassionate member of the UChicago community and a dear friend to many," Zachary Cogan, a classmate of Lewis' and his fraternity brother, wrote on a GoFuneMe for Lewis. "He is known amongst friends, peers, and classmates for his kindness, goofiness, grit, impeccable work ethic, and most importantly, his unfailingly genuine soul. He will be sorely missed."
"There are no words to adequately characterize how devastating this loss is," he added. "Of all people in this world, Max was the last to deserve something like this."
Before his death, Lewis, a Denver-area native, was studying economics and computer science and was the former president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, according to Cogan. He also devoted a fair amount of time to the Promontory Investment Research, a student group that helps other students write research reports.