Dakotah Earley was a culinary arts student up until recently, when he decided to take a break to focus on other things. Credit: GoFundMe

LINCOLN PARK — A 23-year-old man is still in critical condition after he was ambushed, robbed and shot in his head early Friday in Lincoln Park.

Dakotah Earley is on life support and due for another surgery, but his body is still too weak for him to undergo the procedure, his brother DaShawn Earley said on the family’s GoFundMe page. The fundraiser has collected more than $70,000 as of Monday afternoon to cover Dakotah Earley’s medical bills and the family’s travel to Chicago from out of state.

Dakotah Earley also has been placed on dialysis, has lost part of his colon and his jaw because of the gunshot wounds, his brother said. DaShawn Earley declined further comment Monday.

“Dakotah is fighting as hard as he can right now,” DaShawn Earley wrote in an update on the page.

Dakotah Earley was walking in the 1300 block of West Webster Avenue about 3 a.m. Friday when he was robbed, then shot twice in the back and once in his head, Chicago Police said. He was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital in critical condition.

No one was in custody, and an investigation is ongoing, police said.

Police are investigating whether that shooting is connected to a string of at least seven other robberies that happened last week, according to a Chicago Police community alert.

DaShawn Earley said Dakotah Earley was taking a break from his studies as a culinary arts student to focus on other pursuits.

“He did not deserve this,” DaShawn Earley wrote on the GoFundMe page. “He is a gentle giant and would’ve given the shirt off his back to anyone in need.”

The intersection of Webster and Wayne where a man was robbed and shot early Friday. Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago

In a widely shared video from anonymously run crime blog CWB, gunmen can be seen in a light-colored car that’s pulled over on Wayne Avenue, just past its intersection at Webster Avenue. One of the attackers got out of the car and hid behind a building while waiting for Earley to walk by, the video shows.

As Earley neared, the attacker pulled out a gun and came out from around the corner, demanding his phone, the video shows.

Earley gave the attacker his bag and the robber again demanded the phone. Earley took out his phone and then reached to the robber’s gun, the video shows.

The two fell to the ground and struggled while the second attacker got out of the waiting car, the video shows. The first attacker then stood up and shot Earley twice while he laid back down and screamed. The second attacker went back to the car.

The first attacker picked up Earley’s phone from the ground and demanded his password, the video shows. Earley began to say his password.

The robber then moved closer to Earley and shot him in the head, the video shows.

Neighbors went to help Earley, arriving even before officers and paramedics got to the shootings’ scene, said Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who lives nearby.

“It’s just very upsetting,” Hopkins said last week. “I’ve talked to quite a few of my neighbors; many of them heard the gunshots. It’s a traumatizing event for everyone.

“… It’s a horrible thing to have happen anywhere in your city, but when it happens outside your door in the middle of the night, it’s something that really can frighten you on a different level.”

Hopkins said the attackers appeared to have been involved in at least one other robbery, saying a DePaul student was robbed early Friday near Fullerton and Clifton avenues, and the attackers and their car matched the description of those used in the shooting.

That robbery happened about 3 a.m. in the 1100 block of West Fullerton Avenue, police said. An 18-year-old man was walking when someone with a gun got out of a white car and demanded the man’s belongings.

The man gave the robber his belongings, and the robber got into the car and took off, police said. No one was hurt and an investigation was ongoing.

Hopkins said the shooting highlights how police need to make adjustments to how they’re patrolling neighborhoods, especially when there are sprees of robberies.

“One thing that I think is something we can improve upon is when there is a robbery spree that is developing, to identify the pattern as it’s unfolding,” Hopkins said. “Rather than to wait until the next day and put the puzzle together and realize the same crew of offenders are committing multiple armed robberies in the same geographic area. We need to do a better job identifying that in real time using the technology that’s available and then attempting to intervene.

“… Knowing that is happening, we need to find a better way to intervene and attempt to make arrests while the robbery spree is still in progress.”

Neighbors said they’ve watched as armed robberies and carjackings have gone up in the Lincoln Park area and that having one happen so close to their homes was “chilling.”

“My parents left Chicago 35 years ago because of gun violence close to their house,” said one neighbor, who lives a block from the shooting on Wayne. “I was born here, raised away from Chicago, but moved back. Now my fiancé and I are wondering how much has really changed in those 35 years.”

Another neighbor said she woke up to the sound of the gunshots early Friday.

“It was terrifying,” she said. “We really don’t get a lot of shootings around here, so I had to stop and ask myself if it was really gunshots that I heard.”

The neighbor said she was too tired and scared to go outside to see what had happened, and she was concerned to read the next day that the shooter might have been involved in another robbery.

“To know that people are going around in crime sprees, especially right by your house — it’s concerning,” she said. “You take safety for granted and then something like this happens and makes you wonder what if this happened to you.”

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