CHICAGO, Ill. – Purdue alumna Dr. Dayna Less had just stepped off the elevator at the Chicago hospital where she worked when she was gunned down and killed.
The 25-year-old pharmacy resident had a lot to look forward to in the coming year. She just graduated from Purdue in May, and she was engaged to be married to the love of her life on June 1, 2019.
But all of that was taken away when a gunman barged into Mercy Hospital and opened fire.
Her family issued this statement:
"Dayna suffered a headache disorder when she was 15. Not migraines but worse. And through a series of surgeries and almost 2 years of recovery was able to regain her life. She realized then that she could not sit still and only wanted to help others and the less fortunate. She graduated Lake Central High School and went to the Purdue Pharmacy program where she graduated this past May after 6 years. She spent time in Kenya helping at a hospital. She started a blog, www.mydaughtersheadache.com, and helped hundreds of children with a similar affliction find hope and help. She loved helping others. She was good at her job because it helped others. She was forged in her own adversity which made her the strongest person I will ever know. After dating Adam for almost 10 years, her high-school sweetheart, they were to be married on June 1st of 2019. We thank everyone for their prayers. We pray for the other families touched by this tragedy and the many, many others in recent months. May her memory be eternal and that we can finally learn how to stop these senseless acts."
Less' father, Brian Less, said he wanted his daughter to be remembered for the good she brought into the world.
“We’ve known them for 15 years. We’re good friends with Adam’s parents. It was a match made in heaven. We were planning a wedding for over 500 people,” he said. “I was going to be giving a wedding speech instead of a eulogy.
“There’s absolutely no reason for this, but I want her remembered for what good she brought into this world – the light that she brought, and not, I don’t want her remembered as a victim,” he said. “She became tenacious in her career and tenacious in how she took care of herself. She was going places man.”
Dr. Tamara O'Neal, 38, an ER doctor, and Samuel Jimenez, 28, a Chicago PD officer, were also killed.
Police gave chase inside the hospital. It's unclear right now if the shooter was killed by police or if he turned the gun on himself.
His identity hasn’t been released at this time, but family members confirm he was previously engaged to O’Neal.
Purdue University issued this statement:
"We are proud of Tamara and Dayna for the lives of service they chose to pursue. We are deeply grateful and admiring of officer Jimenez for his sacrificial bravery that spared other innocent lives."
We are heartbroken for the families of CPD officer Samuel Jimenez, Dr. Tamara O’Neal and Dayna Less, victims of today's senseless shooting at Mercy Hospital. Our thoughts are with their loved ones and friends.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 20, 2018
I was a close friend of Dayna Less. One of her and her family’s favorite things together was celebrating their love for the Cubbies. ♥️ Please pray for her Mother, Father, and Fiancé during this horrific time. pic.twitter.com/4bvreD32gS
— Nina Starcevich (@nina_starcevich) November 20, 2018