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20-year-old Denver native attending university in Chicago killed by stray bullet

Max Lewis
Posted at 3:40 PM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 20:19:02-04

DENVER -- A 20-year-old Denver native died from his injuries Sunday after getting struck by a stray bullet while riding on a train in Chicago.

Denver7's sister station in Chicago reports the bullet entered through a window on the train and struck Max Solomon Lewis on Thursday, July 1. Police do not believe he was the intended target.

Zachary Cogan, one of Lewis' best friends, says Lewis was riding the train home after leaving an internship in Downtown Chicago.

"I was told Max was shot, and he was shot in the neck. And it was really bad," Cogan said.

He and several of Lewis' friends rushed to the hospital where an ambulance had taken him.

There, he fought for his life for three days before dying from his injuries Sunday morning. His family was by his side.

"I couldn't think of a bad thing to say about Max. Like, there's just nothing that comes to mind," Cogan said. "He was incredibly special and he was brave to the very end."

Lewis was a student at the University of Chicago, a double major in economics and computer science. He was also a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, which is how Cogan and Lewis met.

"He embraced the outdoors. Like, his Denver roots were so prominent. And he loved Chicago. He loved the city life," Cogan said.

Lewis graduated from Kent Denver School in Englewood in 2019.

The head of school and Lewis' 12th-grade physics teacher, Dr. Rand Harrington, shared the following statement with Denver7:

"The entire Kent Denver community is heartbroken over the tragic death of Max Lewis, Class of 2019, and our deepest condolences are with Max’s family, friends and loved ones.

Max touched so many lives at our school and made a deep and positive impact on all who he met. From the moment he arrived in sixth grade, he was known for his intellect, kindness and generosity of spirit. Over his seven years at Kent Denver, he grew into an exceptional scholar full of good humor, curiosity, drive and a deep passion for technology. Max was an extraordinary young man with so much to offer the world, he will be deeply missed."

At least 80 people were shot in Chicago this weekend, according to ABC7 Chicago. Now, Cogan is calling on city leaders to take action and prevent tragedies like this one.

"Chicago has so much gun violence, like every city. It's so senseless," he said. "I just … I can't lose another friend to gun violence. I just can't. It's too much."

A GoFundMe in Lewis' name has raised more than $40,000 in three days. A small portion of the money, Cogan says, will go toward helping Lewis' closest friends in Chicago attend his funeral in Denver.