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Donations Pour In To Pay For Cremation For Slain Homeless Man

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Funeral parlor. (Credit: CBS)

Funeral parlor. (Credit: CBS)

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ELGIN, Ill. (CBS) — An outpouring of public donations has paid for the cremation of a homeless Vietnam-era veteran who was killed in downtown Elgin.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports, Richard Gibbons, 60, had served in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Vietnam War, the Elgin Courier-News recalls.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports

But in recent years, Gibbons had been living on the street as an alcoholic, and he was killed last month when someone dropped a fire extinguisher on him from 40 feet above.

While Gibbons was sleeping in an alley on Aug. 11, Elgin police say Yancarlo Garcia, 23, of Chicago, tossed a fire extinguisher from the top of the Fulton Street Parking Deck, 245 Fulton St.

Gibbons was found with serious injuries to his abdomen and he was taken to St. Joseph Provena Hospital in Elgin before he was transferred to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

He died at the hospital on Sept. 4. Meanwhile, bond for Garcia later set at $1 million.

But three weeks after his death, there had been no funeral for Gibbons. The Veterans Administration would pay for a casket and burial in a veterans’ cemetery, but Gibbons’ children said he always wanted to be cremated and to have his ashes kept in Elgin.

The Courier-News put out a story last month on Gibbons’ family being short of the money needed for his cremation. As a result, donations poured in, and the family came away with more than enough money they needed to cover the funeral expenses, the Courier News reported.

A fundraiser for the funeral costs is still planned for 5 p.m. Friday at the Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant, in the Algonquin Commons Shopping Center on Randall Road in Algonquin, the newspaper said. For a $10 admission ticket, supporters can get free food. Prizes will be raffled off, and the restaurant will hold a karaoke contest.

Gibbons’ daughter, Melissa Gibbons, said previously that anything above the cremation expense will be divided among Street Outreach, the Elgin soup kitchen program and buying winter coats for the homeless.

The Elgin Courier-News contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

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