USD alum killed by stray bullet
Elisabeth Smith | Assistant News Editor
A 25-year-old University of San Diego alumna passed away Feb. 7, in Chicago. Aaren O’Connor was in her car when a stray bullet hit her in the back of the head. She died two days later in a Chicago hospital, according to the Chicago Tribune.
O’Connor was on the phone with her family in San Diego when the bullet hit her head.
“She was having trouble speaking,” David O’Connor said to the Chicago Tribune. “She didn’t know where she was. She kept saying her head hurts, her head hurts. I thought maybe she was having a stroke or something.”
This act of violence is not uncommon for Chicago. According to the Tribune, O’Connor’s death will probably be one of 400 or 500 homicides this year.
The loss of his daughter has prompted David O’Connor to advocate to bring an end to the violence in Chicago. While he told the Tribune that he knows that is asking a lot, but he wants to use Aaren’s name to create change for good.
Aaren O’Connor’s coworkers started a memorial fund in her name on GoFundMe. The fund is intended to help her family offset funeral costs and eventually to develop a scholarship fund for at-risk Chicago youth who want to study abroad.
The Aaren O’Connor Memorial fund has currently raised $36,775 in eight days, with a goal of $50,000.
“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,” O’Connor’s GoFundMe page said. “Other suggestions to provide healing to our community in Aaren’s memory are welcome and encouraged. May she rest in peace.”
O’Connor graduated from USD in 2012 with a BA in Spanish Language and Literature and a BBA International Business. During her time at USD, O’Connor studied abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico and Tokyo, Japan. Her time studying abroad inspired her friends to put the memorial fund toward a study abroad scholarship fund.