After nearly 20 surgeries Rylan Wilder, who is still in high school, is desperately trying to move on with his life.
"Music is Rylan's life. He's a guitar player, lead singer in a band. This has jeopardized his career, said Tim Cavanaugh, Wilder's attorney.
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Wilder was just 14 when he became what his attorney called collateral damage in a suburban bank robbery turned police chase into Old Irving Park. It ended with Des Plaines police officer James Armstrong shooting one suspect inside Upbeat Music Store where the teen was working.
"The Des Plaines police department came into another jurisdiction, the city of Chicago, and chased down this man and went inside Upbeat where Rylan Wilder, through no fault of his own, had his arm blown away," Cavanaugh said.
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Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office announced Armstrong will not be charged as a criminal for pulling the trigger in November 2019. After an outside review, Foxx's office released a statement saying in part, "The Office of the State Appellate Prosecutor has completed its review and has concurred that no criminal charges are appropriate."
"What I'm interested in knowing is what evidence did they review," Cavanaugh said. "Did they interview Officer Armstrong?"
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In April, the Des Plaines police chief came to his officer's defense.
"What led our officer into that store was trying to stop that armed offender who had just shot in the community, openly," said Chief David Anderson, adding, "There's a possibility that offender may have also contributed to the young man's injuries."
"Officer Armstrong had a person weapon, an AR-15, a weapon of war that he used," Cavanaugh said. "He had a pistol on him as well, I think it was a Glock. He chose to use that weapon of war that blew away Rylan's left arm."
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The state's attorney's decision not to file criminal charges against Armstrong has no bearing on the civil case that Wilder and his family are pursuing. Cavanaugh said he plans to call the officer for a deposition and get answers.