Chicago crime: Disabled man beaten to death leaving Pilsen soup kitchen


CHICAGO (WLS) — A disabled man was beaten to death in an alley behind a Pilsen church after eating in its soup kitchen last week. A priest was the one to call 911.

Juan Antonio Garcia Rios’s family said he was leaving St. Pius V Church when he was attacked.

“They were arguing inside and then I guess from there it escalated,” said Pamela, who declined to give her last name and works at the church.

The 67-year-old had just grabbed lunch at the soup kitchen in the 1900-block of South Ashland Avenue. Then there was an altercation in the alley.

“They were arguing, the guy brought out the metal bar and hit him right there,” Pamela said.

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Chicago police said a man walked up to Rios and beat him to death with his bike lock.

Church staff called 911 as investigators said the offender rode off on a white bicycle.

“He must have done it a few times,” Pamela said. “It was a horrible sight to see.”

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Rios’s sister, who lives in New Mexico, is distraught over the loss.

“Nobody has the right to take anybody else’s life,” Corina Garcia Flores said.

She said her brother was disabled, and had a difficult time walking around, much less fighting back.

“He did not do people wrong,” his sister said. “That is what we do not understand, why all this happened.”

The family man was planning to move to Texas.

“He was what is normally called a jack of all trades,” Flores said. “If you needed something done he would do it.”

Violent crime has risen over last year in the police district that covers Pilsen and much of the Near West Side. Murders have risen 65% over last year, from 17 to 28, according to police statistics.

Reports of theft and sex assault have also shown double-digit increases over the same period last year. Aggravated batteries and burglaries, however, have shown modest decreases.

No one is currently in custody. If you have any information, call Chicago police. Tips can be submitted anonymously to detectives at cpdtip.com.

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