Man charged in River North attack on female security guard

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Matthew De Leon (WLS)

A 23-year-old man was charged late Tuesday night in a brutal attack on a security guard in Chicago's River North neighborhood.

Matthew De Leon, who is from the city's Portage Park neighborhood, is a U.S. Army serviceman who was visiting his family in Chicago before reporting for duty in Hawaii.

On Wednesday, De Leon appeared in Bond Court. A Cook County judge ordered him held in lieu of $250,000 bail. His attorney said he will remain in custody until his next court date on Tuesday.

De Leon faces three felony counts of aggravated battery.

"He's going to do whatever he can to make this up to the victim. He expressed deep remorse when he turned himself in Monday night," said his attorney Richard Fenbert.

He is accused of punching Zoa Stigler, a female security guard outside a condo building in the 600-block of North Franklin Street early Sunday morning. Surveillance cameras recorded the entire incident.

"This man just walked up to me and punched me in the face for doing my job," said Stigler, 46.

She initially tried to help De Leon, who was leaning on the building just before 2 a.m. Sunday. When Stigler returned to clean up his vomit, she told the man and his friends to leave. Instead of clearing out, the video shows he whipped a bottle at her and landed a brutal punch to her face.

Stigler picked De Leon out of a line up at police headquarters Tuesday. She did not attend the Wednesday court hearing because she was having surgery on a fractured eye socket and nose.

Zoa Stigler


De Leon turned himself in Monday, accompanied by Dawn Valenti, a community activist. She said she does not condone what De Leon did.

"He made a very wrong decision under the influence of alcohol. I really can't express how sorry he is," said Dawn Valenti. "He's so remorseful. He's very remorseful. I mean, when I got out of the car, as he approached me, his body language told me how remorseful, how sorry he was. He knew he had did something he shouldn't have done."

"I forgive him, you know, because I am a Christian woman. You're supposed to forgive anybody that wrong you. So I do forgive him, I just don't forgive the action," Stigler said.

Residents of the building have raised thousands of dollars for Stigler's medical bills through a GoFundMe campaign that was set up by the president of the condo association.

More than $23,000 had been donated as of Wednesday evening. Stigler said she was overwhelmed by everyone's compassion and kindness.

Related Topics:
newssecurityattackmother's daysurveillance videoChicagoRiver North
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