HUMBOLDT PARK — Scott Morrow was walking to a friend’s house during Puerto Rican Parade festivities when he felt something hit him in his back. Then, “radiating pain.”
Morrow passed out. Police officers in the area found the 41-year-old music writer lying in the grass with a gunshot wound in his back. Instead of hanging out at his friend’s apartment, Morrow spent the next several days fighting for his life.
Police said Morrow was shot just before 1 a.m. June 20. After a minor traffic crash near the 1200 block of North Kedzie Avenue, someone fired shots at a 28-year-old woman driving one of the cars, hitting her in her head, police said. One of the shots also hit Morrow while he was walking on the sidewalk. The woman was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition, while Morrow was taken to Mount Sinai.
Morrow said his mind was racing as he tried to stay awake in the ambulance.
“I just kept thinking about all of the family and friends I didn’t want to leave behind, and all of the things I still have to do: ‘I’m working on an album. I can’t die before this album gets done.’ And stupid stuff like, ‘I can’t die before I see Justin Fields on the field for the Bears’ — just trying to focus on all of the stuff that I’m looking forward to, and thinking about my mom,” he said.
Morrow spent six days in the hospital and has gone back twice because of complications. Doctors removed his spleen, his left kidney and part of his pancreas. They also repaired holes in his stomach and diaphragm.
He faces a long recovery. For the rest of his life, Morrow has to take an antibiotic and go to the emergency room anytime he has a fever of 101 degrees or higher. Because he no longer has a spleen, he is at risk of a bacterial infection if his fever reaches a certain level.
Despite this, Morrow said he should be able to live a “pretty normal life” barring any more complications. Compared to other shooting victims, Morrow considers himself “very lucky.”
“It could have been so much worse,” he said. “The bullet came pretty close to my spine. I could be paralyzed right now. It could’ve hit my heart or aorta.”
‘The Sad Reality Is This Stuff Happens All The Time’
Morrow has lived in Logan Square for eight years. He works full-time as a proofreader at a marketing agency, but music is his passion.
For years, he’s been an active member of the local music scene in Chicago and in suburban Glen Ellyn, where he spent most of his childhood. He’s also written freelance music pieces for various local publications, including Alarm Magazine, Consequence of Sound and the Chicago Reader. More recently, he’s turned his focus to his own music; he’s working on an electronic-rock solo record under the moniker Plutocracy Planet.
The night of the shooting, Morrow was listening to music on his headphones as Puerto Rican Parade celebrations were going on with people hanging out on the sidewalk and waving flags out of their cars. He said he didn’t hear or see anything out of the ordinary that could’ve indicated he was about to be shot.
“I was just trying to make my way through the crowded sidewalk,” he said.
Police have not made any arrests in the case. Detectives are investigating. Officials could not provide further information on the 28-year-old woman’s condition as of Wednesday.
Morrow and the woman were two of several people shot in Humboldt Park that weekend. The Tribune found 14 people were shot within blocks of the Puerto Rican Parade.
Among the victims were young parents Gyovanny Arzuaga, 24, and Yasmin Perez, 25.
Similar to what happened to Morrow and the 28-year-old woman, the couple was involved in a minor car crash. Then, a group ambushed them and a gunman executed Arzuaga in a crime that was caught on video and stunned the city. In the midst of the chaos, it appears Arzuaga accidentally shot Perez, police said.
As Morrow recovers at his parent’s home in the western suburbs, he said he can’t help but feel survivor’s guilt, particularly as friends and family rally to provide financial support for his medical care and recuperation.
An online fundraiser for Morrow raised more than $20,000 as of Wednesday evening. Some of his friends also are arranging a fundraiser in his honor at GMan Tavern in Wrigleyville, where they put on regular shows.
“I feel very fortunate to have a really incredible support system: family, friends and friends of friends. I feel very grateful, but I also feel very sad for people going through this every day that doesn’t have the same support systems,” he said. “I wish there is more I could do, more the city could do, more that everybody could do, to prevent these kinds of things from happening.”
Soon, Morrow plans to get back to recording his first solo record. Despite the traumatic incident, he said he doesn’t plan to leave his apartment in Logan Square or the city anytime soon.
“The sad reality is this stuff happens all the time. It is generally confined to a handful of areas, but it does happen anywhere,” he said.
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