Des Plaines

Attorneys for Rylan Wilder, teen accidentally shot by Des Plaines police in 2019, to announce $1.9M settlement

Rylan Wilder, 15, was seriously injured during a police shooting when a robbery suspect entered Upbeat Music School in Nov. 2019

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Attorneys representing Rylan Wilder, an innocent bystander who in 2019 was accidentally shot and seriously injured by a Des Plaines police officer pursuing a robbery suspect on Chicago's Northwest Side say a $1.9 million settlement has been reached with the city of Des Plaines.

Nov. 19, 2019, a Des Plaines police officer responded to a bank robbery. One suspect was arrested at the scene, but the second suspect led officers on a high-speed chase into Chicago's Old Irving Park neighborhood.

The robbery suspect eventually got out of the getaway vehicle and led Des Plaines police on a foot chase, entering the Upbeat Music School on Old Irving Park Road.

Surveillance video appeared to show a Des Plaines police officer opening fire on the suspect using an assault rifle.

According to attorneys, Rylan Wilder, 15 at the time and a budding musician, was interning at the school of music when the incident occurred. Wilder was hit by an officer's bullet in the hand, tearing a "playing-card-sized hole" in the crook of his elbow.

Despite 18 surgeries and three years of physical therapy, Wilder has no feeling in his left arm, hand or fingers, attorneys said.

"The settlement can never make up for what Rylan has lost, the pain and suffering he has endured and the trauma of being shot at age 15 by a police officer while going about his everyday business at a music school," Wilder's attorney Tim Cavanagh said in a press release. "However, it will help him move on with his life, continue to get the medical care he needs and pursue his dreams. We also hope his case will prompt change in the way police pursue criminals when innocent citizens are at risk. We hope officers will receive better training in the future and will make wiser decisions because public safety always needs to come first."

A press conference announcing the settlement is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

According to attorneys, the settlement came shortly before jury selection for the case's trial was about to start.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in 2020 announced her office would not criminal charges against the officer, saying Des Plaines Officer James Armstrong was justified in using deadly force against the bank robber and acted responsibly.

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