The attack happened early Monday morning outside a bar in the city's Rogers Park neighborhood.
Forty-four-year old Michael Davis sustained serious head and face injuries, including a broken jaw and several lost teeth, after being attacked with a baseball bat as he walked home from a bar in the wee hours following Father's Day.
"[He was] a real nice guy. He wasn't in gangs, he didn't mess with drugs, so this is kind of a shocker," said Jim Rollins, victim's friend.
Jim Rollins showed ABC7 into the Poitin Stil, a landmark of the rapidly-gentrifying Rogers Park neighborhood. Chicago police say a pair of black men came in late Sunday night, made race-based comments about access to the pool table, were escorted out by Davis, a regular, and then lay in wait for the unmarried restaurant worker.
"Everybody loves him, he was trying to calm the situation, trying to do the right thing, and that was the worst part of this. He was trying to help. He did not want any trouble," said Alicia Webb, the victim's niece.
"He's one of the best people I know. No one should have to go through this, particularly people who are goodhearted trying to help. This is so horrible and ugly," said Matt Nolan, victim's friend.
Witnesses told Davis's family the suspects, who are black, yelled racial insults at Davis because he intervened on behalf of another man, who was white.
"He was a little guy. Mike was standing up for the little guy. And that's what Mike did," said Brandon Lowe, a friend of the victim.
"Everyone else who was at the bar at the time was a regular. These two people who did this to him were not regulars, were not people who anybody even knows," said Webb.
Police have only a vague description of the two attackers, though they said one of the men was wearing a pink jersey over a white t-shirt and both men had dreadlocks.
"They left. They thought about what they were going to do. They got a weapon. And they came back and waited and stalked him," said Lowe.
Back in Rogers Park, the barkeep next door, who only opened up 3 weeks ago, says Chicago has to care about such senseless violence.
"There's 11,000 people that get on that L, lots of professionals who live here but go elsewhere because there's nothing around here. And that's why we thought there was a big necessity to move into this area to provide people with a place that they could sit, feel comfortable, and communicate and chat with other people," said Debbie Evans, of Towbar.
"At some point we have to come together as a community. We are better than this, we are so much better than this. At what point does the violence stop, you know?" said Webb.
Michael Davis is recovering from surgery Friday at the St. Francis Hospital in Evanston and may need long-term care. Davis worked as a waiter at a restaurant and does not have health insurance.
"He did open his eyes a couple times while I was there and tried to lift up his hand to try to do our handshake," said Lowe.
Michael Davis's family has set up a fund to help pay his medical expenses.
To donate, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/donate4michaeldavis