Musicians are offering support to a 15-year-old guitarist who was accidentally shot by a Chicago police officer.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Rylan Wilder was finishing his shift at the UpBeat Music and Arts center when he was struck by bullets meant for a bank robber. He was hit in both the arm and the abdomen by the police officer. The shot to his arm caused serious damage, leaving his parents unsure if he’ll be able to play the guitar again.
Wilder is known in the local area for his work as the lead singer and guitarist of the band Monarchy Over Monday. As a result, musicians have rallied around the teenager in hopes to offer him financial and emotional support. White Mystery’s Alex White met Wilder when he was 11 and the two have stayed in touch over the years. White tells the Tribune that Wilder’s story has resonated with older musicians.
“For musicians and music lovers alike, music is the essence of our being,” she said. “It guides our lifestyles and our day-to-day schedules and for that to be disrupted can be very traumatic.”
Support from all over has poured in. As of this weekend, the GoFundMe that was created by Wilder’s family to offset his medical bills reached close to $54,000. Yet, more help is needed. Wilder’s Monarchy Over Monday was scheduled to play a show at the Martyrs music venue on Saturday night with other local acts. The owner of the club, Ray Quinn, was so moved by Ryan’s story that he agreed to donate all the show’s proceeds to Wilder’s medical expenses. Tommy Langford—whose band Mock Nine played at the benefit show—explains that the associated acts feel connected to Wilder because they know it could easily happen to them as well.
“They know Rylan was so passionate and that was just ripped away from him and that could’ve been any of us,” Langford said.
Another local singer and guitarist, Niko Kapeton, explains how this incident has forced musicians to look at the bigger picture to address some of the problems that plague the city.
“It seems like the young artist community in Chicago is really rallying behind this…. It changes the mood of it and why you’re doing it,” Kapeton said. “It makes you think of something bigger … to raise awareness for gun violence and the fact that a 15-year-old could be working as an intern at a music shop and be shot.”
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