A father was on the phone with his daughter when suddenly a stray bullet hit her in the head.
Aaren O’Connor, 25, was sitting in her car Friday in Chicago talking with her dad on the phone. Her father, David O’Connor, could tell something was wrong, but he had no idea that his daughter had actually been hit by a stray bullet, CBS Chicago reports.
“She was having trouble speaking,” David 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.”
David was able to get Aaren’s friends to check on her. Her roommate found her with a gunshot wound to the head and rushed her to the hospital. Aaren was declared brain dead Sunday, and doctors harvested her organs. Police say the shot was likely fired from a suspect they were chasing. The suspect allegedly turned to fire off shots at police, but a stray hit Aaren.
“I didn’t realize at the time but I was just having the last conversation with my daughter,” David told CBS Chicago.
One of Aaren’s former coworkers started a GoFundMe page to pay for funeral expenses and create a scholarship fund. The page had raised about $29,000 at the time of publication.
“Aaren was a beautiful 25 year-old woman who was intelligent, compassionate, caring, and hardworking with a deep love for her friends and family,” the page reads. “She had a great sense of humor, love for adventure and a take charge personality. By simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time the world lost an amazing person and all of her potential.”
Chicago’s homicide rate has skyrocketed recently.
Chicago had 272 gunshot victims and 51 homicides in January, the highest total for the winter month in 16 years. In fact, the rate is so high, there are nearly two murders a day. While in 2015, the city had 29 homicides for the same month, and in 2014 there were 20 murders — the total has more than doubled in two years.
A Chicago Police Department (CPD) spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation the department is increasing police visibility and cracking down to combat the spike in homicides.
“Both figures represent unacceptable increases from 2015 and were driven primarily by gang conflicts and retaliatory violence,” CPD Director of Communications Anthony Guglielmi told TheDCNF. “To address the increase in gun violence, the police department has implemented a series of new enforcement measures while targeting enforcement of gang organizations and working with our criminal justice partners on trying to reach future victims and offenders.”