Who was Max Lewis? Chicago student, 20, hit by stray bullet in train makes family pull life support

Max Lewis was riding a CTA Green Line train when the bullet flew through a window, hit him in the back of the neck and paralyzed him for life


                            Who was Max Lewis? Chicago student, 20, hit by stray bullet in train makes family pull life support
Max Lewis was riding a CTA Green Line train when a bullet flew through a window and hit him (GoFundMe)

A young man was killed by a stray bullet while he was riding a subway train on his way home from a prestigious internship in downtown Chicago. 

Max Lewis, 20, a rising junior at the University of Chicago, was riding a CTA Green Line train around 6.30 pm on July 1 when the bullet flew through a window and hit him in the back of the neck. The train was stopped at the 51st Street station at the time of the shooting, according to a GoFundMe campaign for his grieving family. Lewis was subsequently rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was tragically taken off life support on the Fourth of July, Crime Online reported.

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It's worth noting that Chicago has experienced shocking levels of gun violence in recent months. The 4th of July weekend in the Windy City was marred by a series of shootings that claimed 18 lives and left at least 100 injured. Major US cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Denver and Cincinnati also witnessed an uptick in crime over the same period.

Lewis, one of those fatally shot over the holiday weekend, was a native of Denver and was double majoring in Computer Science and Economics. According to the report, he had recently secured an internship at Segall Bryant & Hamill, a reputed investment firm in Chicago's Loop section. He had opted to commute to the office instead of working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lewis, of course, was not the shooter's intended target. Police, however, revealed that no arrests had been made at the time of writing. Speaking to WGN News, Lewis' mother Dr Rebecca Rivkin said that the bullet had paralyzed her eldest son from the neck down. Doctors told her he would never walk or eat on his own and would require to stay on the ventilator for the rest of his life.

The embattled mother recalled how her beloved son was awake and alert in the hospital, communicating with his family by blinking. He reportedly allowed them to spell out a message saying, "If I have to live like this, pull the plug, please. Seriously."

Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times, one of Lewis' closest friends Zach Cogan described it as a "senseless tragedy for so many reasons." The victim was described by his friends and family as "intelligent, caring, and compassionate." They recalled how he had taken on several responsibilities while studying at the University of Chicago. He was appointed the president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, was involved in various Jewish programs, and was devoted to his role as head of operations at Promontory Investment Research, a registered student organization at UChicago.

"He is known amongst friends, peers, and classmates for his kindness, goofiness, grit, impeccable work ethic, and most importantly, his unfailingly genuine soul," the GoFundMe page said of Lewis. "He will be sorely missed. There are no words to adequately characterize how devastating this loss is. Of all people in this world, Max was the last to deserve something like this." The page has raised $83,726 while its goal was $20K.

Lewis' death was confirmed by a spokesperson for the University of Chicago, who noted in a statement that the college community was "devastated" after the tragedy. "Our deepest sympathies are with Max’s family, friends, and all who knew him. He was a talented student and beloved individual who will be greatly missed," the statement read. 

Speaking to the Sun-Times, Lewis' friend Victoria Gin said he was already looking forward to his next internship that he had landed for next summer. "My latest conversations with him were so optimistic," she recalled, describing her late pal as "a ball of light" that exuded energy. Meanwhile, Joyce Liu, a colleague of Lewis and Gin at Promontory Investment Research," told CBS Chicago that he was "incredibly humble."

Max Lewis isreportedly survived by his parents and younger brother.

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