Lucia Morales began the story as she’d been instructed — describing the worry over her teenage son’s unanswered texts, then the panic when she learned police tape surrounded the music store where he worked.
But it was when the mother told of arriving at the hospital and seeing her boy after the shooting that her words stopped, as though she were struggling to breathe.
“No one can ever imagine what that’s like to see their child at a table like that. The amount of doctors working on him, the amount of blood everywhere is unbelievable,” Morales said Monday afternoon, her husband, Tom Wilder, holding her hand in his.
Morales and Wilder are in search of answers, which is why, they said, they have filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court. They want to know why their son, 15-year-old Rylan Wilder, was accidentally shot Nov. 19 on the Northwest Side as police swarmed an alleged bank robber.
“The injury to his left arm is very, very serious,” said the family’s attorney, Tim Cavanagh, talking at his downtown office. “There’s been over five surgeries to date and more surgeries to come for this young man.”
Cavanagh said he plans to ask a judge Tuesday to preserve any video or audio evidence connected to the case.
Rylan’s shooting stemmed from a bank robbery Nov. 19 in Des Plaines that led to a police chase into the city. One of the alleged robbers, Maurice Murphy, was in custody Tuesday, having been arrested not far from the bank. He faces federal bank robbery charges. The other man, Christopher Willis, carjacked a Buick and made it to the Northwest Side, where he opened fire, striking a veteran police officer. (The officer has since been released from the hospital.)
Willis then ran into UpBeat Music & Arts, where Rylan, a budding musician, was working as an intern. When Willis raised his gun, a Des Plaines police officer shot and killed him, according to CPD. Rylan was also accidentally shot by Des Plaines police, CPD has said.
On Monday, Morales described the injury to her son’s forearm and the lengths surgeons at Lurie Children’s Hospital have gone to try to repair the damage from the bullet.
“This whole part of his arm is pretty much gone,” Morales said, indicating a playing-card-sized hole in her son’s forearm.
Rylan was also hit in the abdomen, but his mother said that bullet did not strike any vital organs.
Rylan is lead singer of the band Monarchy Over Monday, which played at Riot Fest in September and at the House of Blues in May. The band, formed in 2017, calls itself “a fast paced, high energy basement refrigerator rock band” on its Facebook page.
At some point, Rylan asked his mother, “Will I ever be able to play guitar again?”
She told him all is possible with “positive thoughts,” but said she couldn’t make any promises.
On Monday, in front of reporters, she said: “At this moment, we don’t know if he will recover from that.”
Morales said her son goes to Lane Tech High School and music is his “passion.” He started with the violin and switched, eventually, to guitar.
“He’s hard working, he is determined, he has the dream of becoming a musician,” she said, adding, “He’s humble. You’ll never hear him bragging about all that he’s accomplished up until this point at his age.”
Cavanagh said he hasn’t spoken to the boy about what he recalls of the moments leading up to and including the shooting.
“That’s why we are asking for all this evidence — the [police] bodycams, the security cameras. That will answer this family’s questions,” Cavanagh said.
A spokesman for the Des Plaines police said the department has no comment.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to “Help Rylan Play Music Again.”