Fundraising efforts underway to honor USD graduate killed by stray bullet in Chicago

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A fundraising effort was underway Tuesday to help pay funeral expenses for a San Diego native fatally injured by a stray bullet outside her Chicago apartment and eventually establish a scholarship program in her memory.

Aaren O’Connor, 25, was struck by the bullet Friday and died in a Chicago hospital two days later, according to news reports. She was on the phone with her father at the time, CBS Chicago reported.

The University of San Diego graduate had moved to Illinois to work for toy company TOMY International. According to O’Connor’s LinkedIn page, she began working for the company in September 2014. Following O’Connor’s death, coworkers at TOMY set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the "Aaren O’Connor Memorial Fund.” As of about 8:30 a.m. today, nearly $21,000 had been donated.

"By simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time the world lost an amazing person and all of her potential,” a message on the page stated. “We want to make sure that something positive can come from this senseless tragedy.”

The initial donations made via the GoFundMe page will be used to offset O’Connor’s funeral and memorial service expenses. Additional contributions will eventually go toward a scholarship program in her memory that may help at-risk youth enroll in study abroad programs and an after school program at a Chicago community center.

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