CHICAGO - A 23-year-old man who was shot during a robbery in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood and had to be put on life support "has made so much improvement over the last few days," his family announced Friday.
According to the victim's GoFundMe page, Dakotah Earley is no longer on life support and breathing on his own. He's also chatting a little and told his brother he missed him. He was expected to have surgery on his jaw Friday night.
In the early morning hours of May 6, Earley was on a walk around the neighborhood when he was held up at gunpoint. There was a struggle and he was shot – three times – twice in the back and once in the neck.
Earley moved to Chicago just six months ago after finishing culinary arts school in Maryland. He lives in Lincoln Park with roommates.
Earley's mother, Joy Dobbs, said her son often has trouble sleeping and when he does, he sometimes takes a walk around the block or goes to a local convenience store.
She believes that's why he was out at 3 a.m. – a walk that's now forever changed their lives.
A bullet remains lodged in his jaw, but his mom said their biggest concern is major blood vessel damage and the possibility of needing to amputate his left foot.
"It has broken my heart to see my baby like this and what they did to him," said Dobbs. "People have been so generous and just total strangers praying for him. I read one of the messages on the GoFundMe and she said that, ‘Dakotah, all of Chicago is pulling for you,’ and that really touched me."
Earley previously worked for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, where a spokesperson described him as "strong and determined."
"Dakotah is a strong and determined young man who recently worked at the Food Depository, preparing healthy meals for people at risk of hunger," said Megan Bennett.
Earley's mom said she is originally from Chicago, but left in 1998 because of the gun violence. She now lives in Georgia.
Dobbs had expressed concern over her son living in Chicago, and worried it was not safe. Days before the shooting, she said she warned her son to be alert.
"My feeling is how dare they… how dare they try to take my son from me," said Dobbs.
While the car used by the suspects has been recovered, there is still no one in custody in connection to Earley’s shooting.