Father of Lakeview stabbing victim speaks out

July 5, 2011 (CHICAGO)

It happened Sunday just before midnight in the 3300-block of North Halsted in the middle of Chicago's thriving Lakeview community.

The victim's father says his son remains hospitalized for a punctured lung and stab wounds to his chest, back and arms.

ABC7 is not identifying the father to protect his son's identity. He says he hasn't asked his son for details about what led to the attack. He's more concerned that his son recovers from it.

The videotaped beating is tough to watch -- even tougher if the young man being punched, kicked and piled on is your son.

"I think it was a vicious, cruel attack, and that's just the bottom line of it," said the father.

The victim's father says he couldn't believe the ruthlessness with which his son was attacked.

Witnesses tell ABC 7 as a pack of people headed south on Halsted they ran into a smaller group of people walking north. Words were exchanged and in seconds nearly a dozen people began to attack one man. As the brawl spilled into the street behind a tree, someone stabbed the 25-year-old victim. He's seen in the video slamming into a storefront before staggering to his feet.

"I never saw anything like that in my life, let's put it that way, and being my son, it hurt," said the father.

Chicago Police say even before Sunday's videotaped attack, extra officers were patrolling the neighborhood, in part because there were two stabbings in prior weeks.

The local police commander said that robberies were up a bit last month, but not violent crime, and certainly not group attacks like the one Sunday night. Police say that the attack is not representative of what happens in the neighborhood.

Alderman Tom Tunney posted a message to constituents saying, "Halsted is one of the priority streets for late night attention. Police are working to put more foot, bicycle and tactical officers on the beat."

Tuesday night, police were responding to concerns about violence along the well-known stretch of Halsted, home to Chicago's gay community, and now, also home to an elevated fear of violence.

"There are issues as the entertainment venue grows, obviously some of the issues that come along with it grow a little bit too," said Chicago Police Commander Kathleen Boehmer. "So our job is to work together and try and alleviate any future problems."

Asked about the recent rash of violence, Chicago's mayor said little.

"I talked to the superintendent of the police department today and they are conducting their investigation right as we talk," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The victim's father says his son worked as a beautician while attending DePaul University where he has dreams of becoming a doctor.

"It hurt me knowing he's a college student trying to go out and have a little fun over the weekend and then he has to receive that kind of treatment," he said.

Detectives continue to use that videotape shot by a neighborhood resident to try to identify the people who participated in the attack. No one was in custody in connection with the attack Tuesday evening.

The victim's father hopes his son may be well enough to be released from the hospital as soon as Wednesday.

"I'm thankful to God and Jesus my Lord and Savior that my son is going to be all right and that's more where my feelings was period - just to be grateful and thankful he was [only] as seriously as he was," said the victim's father.

Under Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, this district has added several additional officers, many on overnight shift when problems typically occur. Also the local Chamber of commerce employes off-duty officers every night of the week as an added layer of security.

Sunday's attack is likely to be a major topic at a previously-scheduled community policing meeting to be held Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

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