"If I have to live like this, pull the plug please. Seriously." That's what the family of Max Lewis says the 20-year-old spelled out by blinking over the weekend. The family removed the University of Chicago student from life support on Sunday, just three days after he was struck by a stray bullet while on the way home from his internship at an investment firm in the Loop. WGN reports he was riding the L's Green Line and was shot in the neck by a bullet that pierced the train car's window at the 51st Street station. The bullet reportedly paralyzed Lewis from the neck down, and doctors expected he would never walk or be able to eat and would require a ventilator for the remainder of his life.
His mom, Dr. Rebecca Rivkin, tells WGN he was alert and able to communicate by blinking, and had asked his family what had happened and conveyed his wishes. The university released a statement, calling Lewis, a double major in economics and computer science, "a talented student and beloved individual who will be greatly missed." A GoFundMe campaign in his name has raised more than $73,000 and will be spent in part on funding the travel of "all people who love him" to his funeral in his native Denver. It hails his "kindness, goofiness, grit, impeccable work ethic, and most importantly, his unfailingly genuine soul." The Chicago Sun-Times reports Lewis had the option of completing the internship from home, but as a friend put it, he decided against that because he "loved getting to know as many people as he could." Police say Lewis was not the intended victim; there are no suspects. (Read more accidental death stories.)