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Chicagoans Step Up To Help Fund Recovery Of Teen Musician Wounded In Irving Park Police Shootout

Rylan, a Lane Tech student in the band Monarchy Over Monday, was working as an intern at Upbeat Music and Arts when he was shot by a police officer pursuing an alleged bank robber.

Rylan Wilder, a musician and student at Lane Tech High School, was shot Nov. 19 in Irving Park. He performed at Riot Fest in 2019.
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IRVING PARK — The family of a Lane Tech High School student wounded by police during a standoff with a bank robbery suspect in Irving Park is looking for help funding the teen’s recovery.

Rylan Wilder, 15, was working as a student intern at UpBeat Music and Arts, 4318 W. Irving Park Road, when he was shot Tuesday by a suburban police officer pursuing a bank robbery suspect. The suspect, Christopher Terrell Willis, was killed by the Des Plaines officer after he shot and seriously wounded a Chicago Police officer.

Since getting shot Wilder has been in the hospital recovering from his injuries and has already undergone multiple surgeries to his arm and stomach. His parents launched a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of his recovery.

Tom Wilder and Lucia Morales’ campaign campaign, “Help Rylan Play Music Again,” surpassed its initial $10,000 goal within a few hours.

“We’re just grateful to everybody that’s helped out. From our family and to everybody here at the hospital and now this,” Tom Wilder said. “It’s just amazing how good some people are.”

The GoFundMe had raised $33,500 of its new $50,000 goal as of Monday morning.

The Wilder family also plans to file a lawsuit Monday in Cook County Circuit Court demanding to know why “an innocent bystander would be shot by a suburban police officer in the city of Chicago,” according to WBEZ. 

“So far, the family has been given very little information from police,” family attorney Timothy J. Cavanagh told WBEZ. “They need answers.”

Rylan Wilder first started playing the violin when he was really little, his father said. As he got older he transitioned to playing guitar, which he’s been playing for the past six years.

His son has also been part of the band Monarchy Over Monday for the past three years.

Together they’ve performed at Lane Tech’s open mic events, venues like Cobra Lounge, 235 N. Ashland Ave., and with Chicago rockers like Alex White from White Mystery.

“My son’s performed at almost every small music venue in Chicago I think,” Tom Wilder said.

Over the summer, Rylan Wilder also performed at Douglas Park during the second day of Riot Fest. He is one of the youngest people to ever play the music festival, he said.

“He’s also big fan of a lot of musicians on Bloodshot Records, even though his band’s music doesn’t necessarily sound like anything on that label,” Tom Wilder said. “If you asked him what his favorite band is, he would name some band that I’ve never heard of. And then he’d tell me, ‘But that’s just what I’m listening to this week.'”

During one of Monarchy Over Monday’s shows, Bloodshot’s owner Rob Miller was in the audience and the band caught his attention, Tom Wilder said.

Miller “looks up and he starts videotaping the kids doing an acoustic cover of an Old 97’s song,” he said. “He’s like, ‘Oh, Rhett Miller’s going to love this.’ He held out his phone to videotape them and apparently sent it to Rhett” from the Old 97’s.

Fellow Bloodshot musician Jon Langford is also asking people to support the GoFundMe.

“I’ve seen the band several times and was delighted by the energetic Waco Brothers cover they bashed out last time they played with my son Tommy’s Mock Nine,” Langford said in a Facebook post. “Due to the stupid U.S. health system his family needs financial help right now.”

When he’s not playing music, the sophomore is pursuing the high school’s Omega curriculum, which focuses on art, theater, literature, history and music.

“I don’t know what the percentage of kids that are in that program is, but they don’t accept very many kids into it,” Tom Wilder said.

Jolie Mahr is a student at Lane who is also in the Omega curriculum.

“It’s a really supportive community. We created a ‘get well soon’ card for Rylan and we’ve definitely all kept him in our thoughts,” she said. “Watching him play is always magical. He’s kind of a celebrity, especially at Lane.”

Rylan Wilder had been working as a student intern at UpBeat Music and Arts when he was wounded. UpBeat is a nonprofit music school and offers scholarships to children who may not be able to afford classes otherwise. Since the shooting the school has remained closed and won’t open again until Dec. 2.

“Rylan started going to UpBeat over the summer as part of After School Matters. He’d been going for two summers when Scott Barbeau, UpBeat’s owner, offered him an intern position for during the school year. Scott’s amazing and Rylan was really excited to do it,” Rylan’s dad said.

As an intern, Rylan was able to play all of UpBeat’s scholarship fundraisers with Monarchy Over Monday or with the school’s house band.

After the shooting, the teen was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital.

“Unfortunately, we are on an HMO insurance plan that will not cover most portions of the required care. We are asking anyone who is interested to please provide support to us through this GoFundMe effort in lieu of flowers, gifts, food, etc.,” Tom and Lucia Wilder said on the GoFundMe page.

A Chicago Police officer was also shot in the head and was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital, where he was last listed as “stable.”

The officer has since been released from the hospital and is recovering at home, according to Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

In a 20-page federal complaint filed Friday, Maurice Murphy, 32, was accused of being the getaway driver for Willis during the robbery.

Willis, 32, was wearing “black material” over his face when he entered the Bank of America branch in the 1300 block of East Oakton Street in Des Plaines about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the complaint. 

Willis pointed a 9-milimeter handgun at a teller and demanded money, the complaint alleges.  

After the robbery, the two men took off in a dark blue Kia Optima with temporary license plates, with Murphy reportedly driving. Police were able to track the robbers with a GPS tracker one of the bank employees placed inside the bag given to Willis. 

Around 4:39 p.m., Murphy reportedly parked the Kia in an alley in the 1900 block of Pine Street in Des Plaines, which is only a few blocks away from the bank, and tossed the car’s temporary registration in a garbage can. 

Murphy then ran and entered a backyard in the 1900 block of South Chestnut Street in Des Plaines, and he was chased and tackled by neighbors. Neighbors held Murphy down until police took him into custody about 4:45 p.m. 

He reportedly had $676 in cash and a number of counterfeit bills with him when he was arrested, according to the complaint.

After leaving the Kia, Willis carjacked the owner of a Buick sedan and drove off in the vehicle, leading police on a high-speed chase to the Kennedy Expressway that ended in Irving Park. He crashed the Buick in the 4500 block of Irving Park Road, the complaint alleges.

After the crash Willis fired at police, hitting a Chicago Police officer in the head, before running into UpBeat Music and Arts, 4318 W. Irving Park Road.

While in the music school, Willis was fatally shot by a Des Plaines Police officer, police said.

His cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. He died at the scene.

Willis was in possession of a handgun, $15,396 in cash and a GPS tracker when he died, police allege.

The full complaint can be found here.

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