A San Diego woman was killed in Chicago after being hit by a stray bullet outside of her apartment.
Aaren O’Connor had moved to Chicago about a year ago, NBC 5 reported. She was returning home from work on Feb. 5 when she was struck in the back of the head by a stray bullet.
Aaren was in her car when the bullet struck. Her roommate, Belinda Luck, found her unresponsive in the vehicle.
“Aaren was incredibly kind and would frequently give people 12 chances before harboring any negative feelings towards them,” Luck told NBC 5.
Aaren was rushed to John H. Stroger Hospital in critical condition. She died on Feb. 7.
“I knew right away that we lost our baby,” David O’Connor, Aaren’s father, told the news station. “It’s just absolutely the worst time of my life.”
David said he was on the phone with Aaren at the time of the shooting.
“She kept saying repeatedly, ‘My head hurts, my head hurts,’” David said, “I just wish I could have told her that I knew what was going on and I could have told her one more time that I love her and that I'm so proud of her.”
Aaren’s boyfriend, Carlos Sorto, said he was devastated by the news. The couple had met while studying abroad in Japan and was looking forward to living together after years of maintaining a long distance relationship.
“When it really happens to you, it feels like a void,” Sorto told the news station.
Chicago police said they are reviewing surveillance footage and have a “very good lead from the video.”
Meanwhile, friends and family of Aaren say they plan on honoring her by creating a scholarship program in her name.
“We want to target people who want to travel abroad since we know that was something that was very passionate for her,” said Sarah Moen, who worked with Aaren. “To myself, she was a little sister. I saw all the potential in the world in her.”
More details on the program were shared on Aaren’s GoFundMe page, which was set up to help the family pay for funeral expenses.
“Our long-term goal is to develop an after school program at a community center in Aaren’s name where Chicago’s youth can come together to receive the caring and resources they need to choose a non-violent path and open their hearts to others," the page reads. “Other suggestions to provide healing to our community in Aaren’s memory are welcome and encouraged. May she rest in peace.”