Family seeks answers after teen shot in head is mistaken for dead, delaying treatment

CHICAGO — The family of a Chicago teen is seeking answers after he was shot in the head and apparently mistaken for dead by first responders, likely delaying treatment until onlookers noticed he was moving under the sheet that covered him.

Police say 17-year-old Erin Carey was shot multiple times in the head when shots rang out outside a party just before 5 a.m. Monday on the 1200 block of South Loomis in the University Village neighborhood. Four other people were wounded and 22-year-old Shalonza McToy was killed.

Video taken at the scene shows Erin Carey covered in a white sheet, still breathing, laying for an estimated 50 minutes before bystanders saw him move and told paramedics, who started doing CPR.

"They saw motion, movement underneath the sheet. Officers notified the paramedics this man is still alive and treatment began on him," CPD First Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio said.

(Erin Carey, 17)

Paramedics administered CPR, and it was at least 30 minutes before he was taken away by ambulance to Stroger Hospital, where he died early Tuesday.

"If they see my son with a gunshot wound to his head, you don't throw a sheet over his head and walk to the next person," Erin Carey's father Eric said during a press event Wednesday. "First of all, did you check to see if he even had a pulse? They tossed it and walked."

While police investigate the shooting, the Chicago Fire Department is investigating whether paramedics followed proper protocol. According to CFD, not enough ambulances were sent at first, with only one responding to a call of a person shot. When they got to the scene, there were actually six people shot, including one dead.

CFD says paramedics started to triage, prioritizing treatment of the multiple shooting victims. They described Carey's head injury as "catastrophic," and say they believed he was the least viable patient, and gave priority to victims with an arterial bleed in the arm and leg wound instead. They said Carey was actually not declared dead on scene, and they're investigating to figure out who put the sheet over him.

"When you come on scene as a trained paramedic I would think and hope the most injured person gets lifted off first," attorney Uche said.

Father Eric Carey is considering legal action, but said he wants answers first.

"I have to take care of my family and find justice for my child. That's my job," Carey said.

Carey had just graduated from Evanston Township High School, the school said in a statement.