CHICAGO (CBS) — Just days after the man who attacked two women with a baseball bat was convicted, Chicago’s Irish-American community is giving thanks and praying for the victims.
Injuries suffered by Irish exchange student Natasha McShane are so severe, she still can’t walk or talk.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports she’ll soon be reunited with her friend and fellow victim, thanks to the generosity of Chicagoans who care.
Outside the Irish-American Heritage Center, two bricks stand protected bearing the names Natasha and Stacy.
At Mass Subnday, the community united in prayer and thanks, with no one more thankful than Stacy Jurich.
“After the verdict was finally read, that was the first thing that I did was we pulled up Natasha on Skype and it was really great to be able to look at her and tell her that, ‘We got him, ‘tash, we kept fighting,’” said Jurich.
On Thursday, a jury convicted Heriberto Verimontes in the devastating 2010 bat attack so vicious, Irish exchange student Natasha McShane suffered permanent brain damage.
“She doesn’t converse. I think she understands things, but she doesn’t converse,” said Joe McShane, a family friend.
Her friend and fellow victim, Stacy Jurich, maintained consciousness just long enough to get help, saving Natasha’s life and her own.
“I truly did fight that night with every ounce of strength i had in my body and all i could think of is that I can’t let anything more happen to her or myself and that’s what I did,” said Jurich.
At Mass, Fr. Karl Langsdorf said the community’s care and concern shows such acts of violence are unacceptable.
The Irish-American Heritage Center is now footing the bill for Stacy’s trip to Ireland that will finally reunite her with Natasha.
“There’s so many things I want to say to her. The ability to hug her is all I want right now and tell her that we did it,” said Jurich.
Shiela McShane, Natasha’s mother, also attended the mass. She declined to speak with reporters.
The Irish-American Heritage Center is continuing its support for Natasha. A fundraiser is set for November 22 and Bears co-owner Pat McCaskey will be guest of honor.