Body found in Highland Park: Man's violent lakefront death brings focus to north suburban parties

Nicholas Caban, involved in deadly confrontation, charged with felony weapons count, police say

Ravi Baichwal Image
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
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Matthew Ascaridis' violent Fort Sheridan death has brought focus to Highland Park beach parties. His body was found on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Police are still trying to understand exactly what happened early Saturday morning on a public beach beside opulent homes.

Matt Ascaridis, a 45-year-old resident, confronted two people over noise apparently around 1 a.m. Police received two calls around 5 a.m. about a body in the water.

"We do know that he did leave his home he confronted these individuals," said Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Spokesman Christopher Covelli. "There was a violent encounter that occurred between a 45-year-old man, a 20-year-old and an 18-year-old."

The two young men ended up in the hospital as a result. A police investigation led to a search of 20-year-old Nicholas Caban's home, where a gun with a scratched-off serial number was found. He was charged with a felony weapons count for that, but a gun was not used in the incident with Ascaridis, and it was not a robbery.

Like many around the area, Rick Lynn uses paths of the Fort Sheridan old armory on a daily basis. He is disturbed by what went down.

"I am distraught. I am disturbed. I could cry about it," Lynn said. "It is like road rage, but for housing. We don't need that. Life is more precious than that."

Some private homes of Highland Park border with the public beach in Fort Sheridan. People who use the public facility said there are often parties that happen there into the night, and noise complaints coming from residents who live there are quite common.

Lynn and his dog, Dani, are not alone.

"I know those people who live down there. They are really bothered by the amount of young people who have parties down there, and they are also very generous and not complaining about it," said Beatrice Grevers, a daily dog walker.

A family friend confirmed the deceased man has a wife and two young children and was well-known as a retirement planner and local hockey coach.

Caban remained in custody and the 18-year-old involved the incident is in the hospital. Police said they expect further charges to be laid in the coming days.

"We're very close to Highland Park. Nonetheless, we are very sensitive to the fact that communities around that area have been through a tremendous amount recently," Covelli said.