A teenager who was shot and wounded during a 2019 shootout between suburban Chicago police and a bank robbery suspect inside a music school has reached a $1.9 million settlement with the city of Des Plaines
ByThe Associated Press
October 19, 2023, 12:59 PM
CHICAGO — A teenager who was shot and wounded during a 2019 shootout between suburban Chicago police and a bank robbery suspect inside a music school has reached a $1.9 million settlement with the city of Des Plaines.
Rylan Wilder signed off this week on the settlement, nearly four years after a bullet fired by Des Plaines Officer James Armstrong tore a hole through his left arm, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Armstrong was chasing an armed man who had shot another officer after a bank robbery in Des Plaines when the suspect ran into Upbeat Music & Arts on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Armstrong followed him inside, shooting and killing him. In the process, he also accidentally shot Wilder, who was 15 and working as an intern at the school.
The bullet that hit the crook of Wilder’s left elbow destroyed an artery, shredded a nerve and obliterated bone, threatening his guitar-playing dreams.
Wilder’s parents sued in Cook County circuit court, alleging that the officer’s actions were excessive and that he displayed “reckless, willful and wanton conduct.” Armstrong wasn’t criminally charged in the shooting, was cleared of wrongdoing by the city, and is still with the department.
Wilder, who’s now 19 and a sophomore at Columbia College Chicago, needed more than a dozen operations and three years of physical therapy. He said he’s still playing guitar and writing music; he recently produced a song for his girlfriend. But he still suffers from his wound.
“My whole arm still feels very numb. I can’t feel in most of my fingers or in my hand,” Wilder told the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday at his attorney’s office.
Under the settlement with Des Plaines, the city doesn’t admit wrongdoing or liability, according to a statement it released.