Hundreds of North Central College students, staff, faculty, and alumni gathered on campus tonight to mourn the loss of Shaun Wild, a member of the Cardinal family. They held a tearful vigil in his honor to begin the healing process.
“(He was) a teammate in every sense of that word, already a teacher, killed in a senseless tragedy,” said Hal Wilde, President of North Central College. “It leaves a hole in our hearts.”
Several of Wild’s friends reflected on their friendship that was cut short too soon.
“I could immediately talk to him about anything; it was an obvious sign from God,” said Steve Hlavac, Wild’s former roommate.
Others reached out with words of hope for the family, who sat in the front of the audience.
“I know you guys have lost a son, but you just gained an entire campus of family,” said Manny Juarez, former teammate of Wild.
The 24-year-old graduated from the college last year. He died after an incident at Frankie’s Blue Room in Downtown Naperville early Saturday morning. He was with friends, including North Central senior Willie Hayes, who appears to have been stabbed first. Then, Wild tried to help Hayes and was stabbed in the stomach, possibly piercing his heart. A bouncer was also stabbed, and was treated and released from Edward Hospital. Willie Hayes is currently listed in fair condition.
Naperville resident Daniel Olaska was arrested on the scene and has been charged with first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
At North Central, Wild was a punter for the football team. He began kicking when he was in fifth grade, following a family of college football punters. During his final season, younger players looked to him for encouragement.
“He always could make people smile and laugh,” said John Thorne, Head Football Coach at North Central.
“When I was coaching him, I would just go ‘Shaun, this is what I need to get done today,’ and he would take those youngsters and just get it done for me,” said Adam Pucylowski, Kicking Coach.
That leadership transcended off the field and into the classroom. Wild joined Spring Brook Elementary School in District 204 as a second grade teacher last fall. The school will deliver the news to students on Monday morning.
“Please pray for his little second graders and their families,” said Maureen Kincaid, Education Department Chairperson at North Central.
Tonight, Frankie’s Blue Room remains closed to honor Wild and the other victims.
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