CHICAGO – While driving north on bustling Lake Shore Drive on Tuesday, returning home after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination at a South Side Walgreens, a Gold Coast man suddenly spotted an accident near from Monroe Drive.
As he got closer, he saw a woman crawl out of a crashed car, holding a little boy, he told the Tribune on Wednesday in a telephone interview.
“My baby was shot! My baby was shot! she yelled, as she grabbed the motionless toddler in one arm and frantically waved her free arm in an attempt to point out anyone, anyone.
The man, who had the driver’s side window down on his Tesla because it was so hot, said there were onlookers driving past and then sped off. But the man, who asked not to be identified, said his adrenaline had started.
“I didn’t get out of the car. It wasn’t really a conversation. I remember she begged, “Help me!” The man said.
“Just jump. I’ll help you get to the hospital, ”he told the woman, who police said was the boy’s grandmother.
A man was also with them, and with the three in his backseat, his only goal then was to find the quickest route to Northwestern Memorial Hospital several blocks away.
Police said Tuesday the 21-month-old boy, identified as Kayden Swann, was shot in the head in a road rage incident that began further south on Lake Shore Drive. The shooting took place near Roosevelt Road and the car the boy was in crashed near Monroe, police said.
The “unanimous” baby, wrapped in a blanket or towel, wasn’t crying or moving, the man said, and he could only see his chest and legs.
As he got into the tunnel area of Northwestern’s emergency room, they jumped up and staff members rushed to help them get into the hospital.
It was the last time he saw them together, although the man later thanked him.
Kayden remained in very critical condition on Wednesday in the pediatric ICU at Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he was taken from the northwest on Tuesday. He was in a medical coma to protect his brain and was on a ventilator, Dr Marcelo Malakooti, deputy chief medical officer and medical director of Lurie’s pediatric ICU, told a press conference on Wednesday.
He has a serious brain injury. His condition did not worsen between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, although Malakooti said he remained “incredibly ill”.
“The fact that it hasn’t gotten worse, I would say, gives us cautious hope,” he said.
The man driving the Tesla told the Tribune that he did not want to leave the hospital after transporting the boy there.
“The arousal level was pretty high and my adrenaline was running,” he said.
After what seemed like about two minutes, two Chicago police officers who were aware of the gunfire and the accident arrived at the hospital.
He told them what had happened and they were able to collect evidence, including blood in his back seat. The man also shared the video of a dashcam installed in his Tesla.
“I’m glad we were able to get there on time. I didn’t know the baby had been shot in the head. The truth is, as quickly as this happened, I have no idea what they looked like, ”he said of his passengers.
The tech professional, in his 40s, said he couldn’t have lived with himself if he hadn’t stopped.
“I mean, they needed help,” he says. “In the end, I couldn’t have this on my conscience. … I could be inconvenienced, and that was the cause of someone’s death? ”
Police said the gunman and the victims did not seem to know each other, but the dispute was about someone not letting another driver enter their lane.
Kayden was in a child seat in the back seat of the car, a white Lincoln, according to a police report which cited preliminary information. Her grandmother was sitting in the front passenger seat and her boyfriend was driving.
A witness told police that an SUV and the Lincoln started driving erratically and an altercation started somewhere between 35th Street and 31st Street on Lake Shore Drive, according to the report.
Around Roosevelt Road, someone in the SUV started shooting at the Lincoln, hitting him and the boy multiple times, according to the report. Another witness said the grandmother’s boyfriend fired back. Grandmother’s boyfriend was arrested at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for having a 9mm Bersa handgun, according to the report.
Police did not announce any charges against the man on Wednesday and said no one else was in custody.