A father did not know that he was speaking on the phone with his daughter for the very last time as a stray bullet struck her in the head on Friday night in Chicago.
David O’Connor thought he was just having a normal conversation with his daughter, 25-year-old Aaren, who was sitting in her parked car outside her Pilsen apartment in Chicago. Suddenly, she began complaining about a pain in her head. Realizing that something definitely was wrong, O’Connor began to suspect that his daughter was experiencing the sudden onslaught of a health-related problem, according to the Daily Caller.
“She was having trouble speaking,” O’Connor told the Chicago Tribune. “She didn’t know where she was. She kept saying her head hurts, her head hurts. I thought maybe she was having a stroke or something.”
— DNAinfo Chicago (@DNAinfoCHI) February 9, 2016
O’Connor managed to get a hold of his daughter’s boyfriend, who asked Aaren’s roommate to go out and check on her. When the roommate found her, Aaren was unresponsive, sitting in her car with a gunshot wound to her head, according to CBS Chicago. Aaren was rushed to a nearby hospital where she later died on Sunday.
“I didn’t realize at the time but I was just having the last conversation with my daughter,” O’Connor said, according to CBS Chicago. “I would have just loved to have told her that I loved her one more time and that I was proud of her.”
Police believe that Aaren was shot by a bullet fired from a suspect they had been chasing who had allegedly turned to fire several shots at the officers, according to the Daily Caller. One of the strays struck Aaren in the head during the fray, the police theorize.
Aaren moved from San Diego to Chicago over a year ago to begin a new job and be closer to her boyfriend, O’Connor told CBS Chicago, adding that when she moved, he had been afraid that something terrible might happen to her in Chicago. After her death, Aaren’s father discovered that his daughter had been an organ donor, and he expressed his admiration for her after her organs had been harvested.
A GoFundMe page has also been created in Aaren’s honor to pay for funeral expenses, create a scholarship program for youths in Chicago, and to develop an after-school program at a community center in Chicago for at-risk youths. At the time of this article’s publication, the page has received over $32,900.
From the GoFundMe page: “We want to make sure that something positive can come from this senseless tragedy. While trying to solve the gun violence epidemic in Chicago seems like an impossible task, we need to start somewhere. We believe we can teach people to see the world from the perspective of others. We hope we can teach people that violence isn’t the answer and provide them with resources to pursue a different path. We think we can teach people how to come together and become a stronger, more unified community.”
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