‘Not Acceptable': CFD Investigating How Boy Was Covered by Sheet While Still Alive After Shooting

“It is not the policy of the Fire Department to leave people on the street, even if they are mortally wounded," said department spokesman Larry Langford

What to Know

  • Erin Carey, 17, was one of six people shot in Chicago's University Village neighborhood Monday morning, authorities said
  • Paramedics, believing him to be dead, mistakenly covered Carey in a sheet on the ground before realizing he was still alive
  • Authorities said he was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead early Tuesday

The Chicago Fire Department is investigating what happened when a young Chicago shooting victim was mistakenly left on the ground and covered by a sheet while still alive by paramedics who believed he was dead. 

According to fire officials, the 17-year-old never should have been left on the street - even if he weren't alive.

“It is not the policy of the Fire Department to leave people on the street, even if they are mortally wounded," said department spokesman Larry Langford. 

Langford said the department is interviewing paramedics and other department staffers who responded to the shooting scene. He added that fire officials will also be reviewing emergency radio traffic, 911 calls and other information as they investigate the response.

“We know it was an extended period of time to get to the victim,” Langford said. “The time it took to get the victim off the street and under treatment was not acceptable by the Fire Department.”

The teen, identified as Erin Carey, was among six people shot in Chicago's University Village neighborhood early Monday morning and had sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to police. Authorities initially said he was pronounced dead at the scene but later noted he was taken to an area hospital in "very critical" condition. He died one day after the shooting. 

"I do understand that paramedics looked at him, believed him to be deceased, covered him with that sheet and moved on to another individual who was nearby who was also shot," Chicago Police First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio said at a news conference Monday.

Riccio said he did not know how long Carey remained under the sheet before authorities realized he was not dead, adding that the incident is something he thought "definitely has to be looked at to find out exactly why that happened." 

"They saw motion, movement underneath the sheet," Riccio continued. "Officers who were present notified the paramedics, 'This man is still alive,' and treatment began on him as well."

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A witness said he saw Carey moving under the sheet, and that several minutes passed from when officials realized the teen was alive to when he was taken away in an ambulance.

"I was sitting there at least about five, six minutes and they kept saying he's moving. So I got a little closer and then I see his legs move. So he was moving. He was still alive, trying to fight for his life," Kenneth Cooper, who lives in the area, recalled. "At that point, it took about another at least 10 minutes for one of the police officers to try at least give him some breath-to-breath resuscitation. It took another five, six minutes before an ambulance even came."

Carey was pronounced dead at 1:14 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

Chicago police officers do not make the determination on whether someone is alive or deceased, Riccio said, adding that further inquiries may be better addressed by the Chicago Fire Department.

The shooting appeared to stem from an overnight party in the 1300 block of South Loomis Street, according to police, who said two unknown vehicles were seen driving around the block several times before someone opened fire.

One other person was killed in Monday's shooting, officials said. Shalonza McToy, 22, was found nearby in the 1400 block of South Washburne Avenue with multiple gunshot wounds to her body - on her chest, left arm, head and ear, according to police and the medical examiner's office. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Four others - two 21-year-old men and two 23-year-old men - were wounded in the shooting but expected to survive, according to police.

No one is in custody in connection with the shooting, authorities said, and the investigation remained ongoing.

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