CHICAGO (CBS) — A 23-year-old man has been charged with punching a female security guard, in an attack caught on surveillance video in the River North neighborhood.
Matthew De Leon, of the Portage Park neighborhood, was charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, aggravated battery in a public place, and aggravated battery to a peace officer, Chicago police said.
Security guard Zoa Stigler said she was trying to help a man who was obviously drunk and passed out near the front door of the 630 North Franklin condos around 2 a.m. Sunday. She said the man had vomited on the sidewalk, so she had brought out a mop and bucket to clean it up, and even offered to call for help.
“If you need me to call the ambulance or 911, I can do that, but you can’t lay right here,” Stigler recalled telling the man.
Stigler, 46, said she threatened to call police when he wouldn’t move. A short time later, some of his friends showed up, and he started to leave, but then threw a water bottle at her, and then sucker punched her in the face.
“By him hitting me so hard, he fractured a bone underneath my eye. I may have to have surgery,” she said. “He broke a bone in my nose, right over my bridge. I have numbness on the left side. So I really can’t feel above my lip.”
Police said Stigler identified De Leon as her attacker after he was taken into custody.
De Leon’s bond was set at $250,000 on Wednesday. His attorney said he planned to “make this right for the victim and her family.”
Crisis responder Dawn Valenti — a familiar figure at crime scenes who helps victims and their families – said she knows De Leon’s family through a mutual friend, and agreed to go to the police station when he turned himself in.
“He is so remorseful. He’s very remorseful. I mean, when I got out of the car and he approached me, his body language told me how remorseful, how sorry he was,” Valenti said.
She stressed De Leon has not been in trouble in the past.
“He knew he did something he shouldn’t have done, under the influence of alcohol. He wasn’t in his right mind. He hit a woman, which he doesn’t do. He doesn’t have a background. He’s never been arrested. I mean, he’s an all-around good guy. He made a very wrong decision under the influence of alcohol,” Valenti said.
Sources said De Leon is in the military. Originally from the North Side, he reportedly was visiting Chicago for a celebration.
Valenti said De Leon would like to apologize to Stigler, but cannot approach her during the investigation.
Stigler was at the police station on Tuesday. She appeared unmoved by Valenti’s comments that the suspect is sorry but said she would forgive him because it’s the Christian thing to do.
“He hit me, and he walked away confidently,” Stigler said. “You can’t be too sorry, because you walked away.”
Stigler noted the man’s companions, who seemed sober, also showed little reaction to her getting punched. She said the attack has left her “fearful.”
“You never know if this could happen again,” she said. “I was always a loner, but now I really just want to be left alone.”
The 630 North Franklin condo association has launched an online fundraiser for Stigler.