Dakotah Earley is turning 24 today, less than three weeks after his life nearly ended when a gunman shot him three times during a robbery in Lincoln Park.
“Although he has an uphill battle to overcome, he continues to improve with each day,” Earley’s family said in a GoFundMe campaign update Monday. “A couple weeks ago, we didn’t know if he would live to see another day, let alone another birthday. We are so grateful for the work God is doing in Dakotah’s life and how much love and support we as a family and Dakotah have been shown. We appreciate each one of you during this time.”
Also Monday, Earley’s mother, Joy Dobbs, met the Lincoln Park man who rushed to her son’s side and administered first aid after the shooting unfolded at Wayne and Webster around 3:05 a.m. on May 6.
“I wanted to meet the person who took the time and the courage to not only dial 911 but to come out and be with my son so that he was not alone,” Dobbs said at the meeting, the Sun-Times reported.
The neighbor who helped Earley, David Hussar, said the circumstances of shooting are not what he was expecting.
“At the time, I thought these two people knew each other because I didn’t think anyone could just shoot someone without some sort of history there. It was just so cold,” Hussar said, according to the paper.
Earley’s birthday comes one week after prosecutors charged 19-year-old Tyshon Brownlee with shooting and robbing him. Brownlee is also charged with committing four other robberies around the same time, although investigators believe he and his crew committed at least 20 other hold-ups.
No robberies that follow the crew’s method of operation have been reported since police arrested Brownlee.
Doctors amputated part of Earley’s leg due to complications from his injuries. A bullet severely damaged his jaw, which is now wired shut following surgery. Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) last week said Earley will require speech therapy and a voice box in the future.
Meanwhile, investigators are continuing to build cases they hope will result in charges being filed against at least one other person. A source familiar with the investigation said they believe Brownlee is part of a violent robbery team that works out of the Lawndale neighborhood near 18th and Avers.
The string of robberies that unfolded this month bears many similarities to another violent robbery surge that hit the same areas of Lakeview and Lincoln Park last year. After two people were shot in separate armed robberies two hours apart in Boystown on December 28 and 29, the hold-up crew moved its activities north to Edgewater, where armed robbers shot a witness during a hold-up on January 13.
A 17-year-old boy is charged with the Edgewater shooting and several of the robberies that occurred in the wintertime spree.
This month, the armed robbers initially focused on Lakeview and Lincoln Park, then moved to Edgewater, Rogers Park, and Uptown after Earley was shot.
- Man, 23, critically wounded in Lincoln Park shooting (May 6, 2022)
- Video: Armed robber shoots man 3x in Lincoln Park after demanding phone password (May 6, 2022)
- 2 nights of armed robberies across Lakeview and Lincoln Park ends with victim critically injured by gunman (May 6, 2022)
- ‘This lawlessness has to be stopped!’ Alderman demands action after a man is shot, gravely wounded during North Side robbery spree (May 6, 2022)
- Lincoln Park shooting, robbery victim is identified in GoFundMe campaign (May 6, 2022)
- Robbers who shot a man in Lincoln Park also fired shots at another victim Wednesday, CPD report says (May 7, 2022)
- Lincoln Park shooting victim is on life support, family says: ‘We ARE NOT and WILL NOT lose hope or faith for Dakotah’ (May 7, 2022)
- 2 more men robbed at gunpoint in Lincoln Park overnight (May 9, 2022)
- Another armed robbery reported in Lincoln Park, Lakeview area this morning. Witness says a gunman threatened to shoot them if they helped the victim (May 9, 2022)
- Armed crews rob 4 more people in Lakeview overnight as violent hold-up pattern grows (May 10, 2022)
- 3 more armed robberies reported on North Side as cops explore a possible link to a shooting near “The Bean” (May 11, 2022)
- Cops find ‘definitive’ link between Dakotah Earley case and a shooting near The Bean: sources (May 12, 2022)
- At least 6 more people robbed at gunpoint overnight as North Side armed robbery surge rolls on (May 14, 2022)
- Breaking: 19-year-old charged with robbery and shooting of Dakotah Earley, several other hold-ups, court records show (May 17, 2022)
- Man charged with shooting Dakotah Earley, robbing four others in Lincoln Park and Lakeview (May 17, 2022)
- One hour before Dakotah Earley was shot, Chicago police decided not to chase the stolen BMW his attacker used (May 17, 2022)