A teenager is expected to make a full recovery after being hit in the head by a stray bullet July 4 in River Forest. The wound is thought to be the result of an unknown person shooting a firearm into the sky.
Vincent Solari, 16, was outside at a party near the corner of Gale Avenue and Washington Boulevard around 10:15 p.m. on Independence Day when the projectile struck him on the left side of his forehead at the top of his hairline.
“He asked his friends if they knew what happened. And they said, ‘You’re bleeding!’” relayed the teen’s mother Suze Solari.
River Forest police arrived on the scene about five minutes after. The teenager was transported via ambulance to Loyola Medical Center, where he was met by his parents and twin brother Rowan. None of his family were at the party; his parents were at home in Oak Park, while his twin was at a different celebration.
“It was lucky we didn’t know that it was a bullet at the time,” said Solari. “Otherwise, we would have been a lot more freaked out.”
Several CT scans indicated a foreign object was lodged in the teen’s head. Fortunately, it was found the object had not caused any cracks to his cranium. He was also lucky in the positioning of his body at the time of his injury.
“If he had looked up, if he had bent forward – it could have hit him in the neck, it could have hit him in the eye,” said his mother.
Following extraction surgery, the foreign object was handed over to River Forest police evidence technicians who determined it to be a 9mm projectile fired from a handgun.
“This event should have never happened, and our hearts go out to the victim and the family. Illegal guns, gun violence and reckless gun-related incidents are plaguing our country, especially in Cook County at alarming levels,” River Forest Police Chief Jim O’Shea said in a press release issued July 6.
It is believed the firearm was discharged outside of River Forest, possibly from a neighboring jurisdiction or the forest preserves, according to the press release, which also stated that detectives are working with bordering jurisdictions to develop leads. The projectile is being sent to the Illinois State Police Forensic Lab, as well the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for analyzation.
Vincent Solari was discharged from the hospital July 6 and is now recovering at home. Despite a bout of discomfort from antibiotics administered to prevent infection from the headwound, he is in good spirits but exhausted from the ordeal, according to his mother.
The entire family is grateful for the outpouring of support from the community and relieved that the teen will not have any lasting damage from the injury.
“When something happens like this, it makes you contemplate of the preciousness of life,” said his mom.