Lincoln Park robbery victim continues to improve from gunshot wounds, talking now. ‘The world is open to him,’ mom says

Dakotah Earley was shot on May 6 as he struggled with a gunman who knocked him down and fired at least three times.

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Dakotah Earley attends physical therapy Thursday while recovering from gunshot wounds he suffered during a mugging in May in Lincoln Park.

Dakotah Earley attends physical therapy Thursday while recovering from gunshot wounds he suffered during a mugging in May in Lincoln Park.

Provided by Joy Dobbs

Dakotah Earley can now speak and eat on his own, nearly two months after he was shot three times at point-blank range during a mugging in Lincoln Park.

“I’m all right,” Earley says in a video shared by his mother Wednesday.

Earley has started physical therapy and is preparing to use a prosthetic leg, his mother Joy Dobbs said. He should be discharged home in two or three weeks.

“I’m super excited,” Dobbs said in an interview. “He’s had a lot to say in the last two days since the wires came out of his jaw.”

Earley is “still the same nice kid he was” and has had a couple of job offers since the attack, his mother said. “The world is open to him.”

Earley, 24, was shot on May 6 as he struggled with a gunman who knocked him down and fired at least three times.

Earley was walking on a sidewalk near Webster and Wayne avenues when Tyshon Brownlee, 19, stepped out from behind a building, pointed a gun and demanded his phone and passcode, prosecutors have said.

The handgun went off as they struggled and Earley tried to defend himself, police said. Brownlee then stood over Earley and shot him again, paused, and shot him a third time.

Earley was hospitalized in critical condition and underwent six surgeries. Doctors amputated part of his leg and wired his jaw shut.

A frame from security video of the robbery in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Dakotah Earley, 23, was walking on a sidewalk at Webster and Wayne avenues on May 6.

A frame from security video of the robbery in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Dakotah Earley, 23, was walking on a sidewalk at Webster and Wayne avenues on May 6.

NBC Chicago

In early June, Earley left the ICU at Illinois Masonic Medical Center and began sitting up on his own. He’s continued to improve and has become more independent, his mother said. The other day he made brownies.

“You ask him how he’s doing and he’ll say, ‘I’m all right.’ And he still gives the thumbs up. He seems happier since the wires came out” of his mouth, Dobbs said.

Eating on his own now, Dobbs got her son one of his favorite foods for his first self-served meal in weeks: Wendy’s chili.

“He says he misses his little sister and wishes he could play with her more,” his mother said. “He doesn’t talk about the person who shot him at all. He seems to be the same. His manners have always been on point.”

Despite the attack, Earley says he wants to stay in Chicago. “Of course I’ve tried to change his mind,” said Dobbs, who is from Chicago and moved to Georgia, but has returned to take care of her son.

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Joy Dobbs, mother of shooting victim Dakotah Earley, speaks during a news conference at City Hall in the Loop, Monday morning, May 23, 2022.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

“I feel like I can’t take my eyes off him. That’s something he wants to do, and it’s probably for the best so he can have the best care possible.”

Dobbs said she’s grateful her son is improving and wishes “everyone could have this outcome.”

“A lot of times there’s no good ending. That’s what’s going on in our city right now,” Dobbs said.

Dobbs has started an online fundraiser to pay for her son’s medical expenses.

“If other people are having a hard time because they lost someone to the same violence, I want to make sure we’re accessible to them because we know what they’re going through,” she said.

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