Firefighter critically wounded in West Pullman mass shooting gradually improving, sister says: ‘He smiled yesterday’

Chicago firefighter Timothy Eiland was shot in the face Saturday evening as a birthday party was breaking up.

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Timothy Eiland was one of six people shot Saturday evening in West Pullman.

Provided by family

A Chicago firefighter critically wounded in a mass shooting over the weekend in West Pullman continues to show signs of improvement, his family says.

“He smiled yesterday,” Timothy Eiland’s sister Elishama Wright told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday.

Eiland responds to his name and can move his fingers, Wright said. He is still unable to speak but smiles at hearing his wife and family over the phone, Wright said.

His 15-year-old niece, shot in the arm in the attack, is unable to move her arm and will need to return to the hospital for more treatment, Wright said.

Eiland was walking with his sister, joking and laughing after a surprise birthday party Saturday night when gunfire broke out. As people started to scramble, Wright found him “on the ground with blood squirting from his face.”

She ducked back into the building in the 300 block of East Kensington Avenue until the shooting stopped, then rushed outside to see about her brother and daughter, who were two of six people shot in the attack.

Police say the gunmen emerged from a dark gangway and opened fire around 9:30 p.m. and ran off.

Eiland, a Chicago firefighter and father of five, was shot in the face and taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition. Wright’s daughter, Divine O’Neal, went to Comer Children’s Hospital in fair condition.

Eiland’s family has started an online fundraiser to help pay for medical expenses.

Contributing: David Struett

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