Below is my first hand-account of what occurred:
On Saturday, June 19, 2021, Nichole and I were walking next to each other down North Ave. in Chicago. As we were walking down the street, we heard 3 gunshots. Nichole collapsed into me while grabbing her back, screaming in pain. We dropped to the ground, but I couldn't believe that she had been shot so I thought she had been struck by fireworks. I quickly rolled her on her side, where I found the bullet entry-wound. In shock I quickly called 911, put them on speaker and went right back to Nichole. While on the phone, 911 told me to find a cloth to cover the wound to stop the bleeding. I tore my shirt off and quickly applied it to stop the bleeding. After getting the wound covered, I quickly looked at the phone and said:” what else can I do?” 911 told me to keep her talking and awake until the ambulance arrived.
In that brief moment, Nichole rolled onto her back and that is when she went quiet. I stopped talking with 911 and held Nichole’s cheek and asked basic questions. She wasn't responding. I started to panic, so I asked her to say anything. I cupped her cheek with my only free hand and looked her in the eyes...that’s when I lost it. Her eyes had lost focus and she wasn't moving. I thought she had died.
I quickly leaned in, hoping that I would hear her breathing. Thankfully I could hear her lightly breathing. However because of her unfocused eyes, I thought I was losing her right then and there. I started repeating over and over, “Baby say anything, just speak to me. Stay with me please! I love you”. I saw her mouth moving, but nothing was coming out.
This went on for what felt like an eternity, but finally the police arrived. They asked me what was going on and all I could manage, in between my repeated questions to Nichole, was that I was trying to keep my wife alive. One officer asked me to move to give her room and I said “No, I'm keeping pressure on her wound. I'm not moving until a doctor shows up.” Immediately after that the ambulance arrived and the paramedics came over to me. I told them she was shot in the back and that I had been keeping pressure on the wound but couldn’t get her to make out words. They took over and asked me to give them room.
Once I wasn't in charge, I started losing it a bit more. I could hear the paramedics talking to her and she must have been able to talk because they got info that only I or she could have told them. I was hopeful at this point that she would be okay. She was loaded onto a stretcher and taken to the ambulance. I followed as an officer asked me questions. I was trying to answer them but my focus was completely on Nichole and getting in the ambulance with her.
I walked up to the back door of the ambulance, opened it and climbed in. I told them I was husband and that I was riding with Nichole. The paramedic outright refused. I was so shocked that I stepped out but kept the door open. I pleaded with him to let me in with her but it was still a no. I turned to the officer who had been following me and started begging her to speak with the paramedic. Then the ambulance door was shut and they took off. As I watched the ambulance drive off I thought that moment could very well have been the last time I saw her alive, which ended up being true. I dropped to my knees and started crying hysterically.
The police got me into a patrol car and brought me to the hospital. When we arrived, I wasn’t permitted to see Nichole so they took me to a waiting room to talk with the police. While waiting, I started calling family and our closest friends. I asked one of our closest friends who officiated our wedding to come to the hospital because I needed him and Nichole needed him. He rushed down to be there for us. While waiting for him to get to the hospital, I went over everything that I could remember from the incident with a group of detectives.
After our friend arrived, I met with a doctor who told me she was going into surgery and that she had low blood pressure so they were giving her blood. At that point, the doctor was optimistic because she was still talking. Hours later, the police and the surgeon came in and sat me down. The surgeon explains that when they opened her up to start the surgery her heart had stopped. They were finally able to stop the bleeding, but were unsuccessful in bringing her back to life. I honestly can’t remember the next 20 minutes, but eventually I got it together long enough to ask when I could see her. Unfortunately, that was an issue because we never legally changed Nichole’s last name to mine. Luckily, the nicest human that I dealt with at the hospital petitioned for me to see her body. Hours later, I was finally able to see her body so I could actually believe that she had passed.
I’m not really sure how to end this as I feel if I do I will forget something important which is my biggest fear right now just forgetting, not the big things the little ones that no one else has seen, I want to carry them on forever. This is why creating a Foundation that will live forever is so important to me!
Thank you, once again, for your love and generosity!