A Chicago man was arrested Monday and charged with sucker-punching a female security guard who tried to help him after she said she found him lying on a sidewalk outside the condo building where she works.
Matthew DeLeon, 23, is charged with one count of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, one count of aggravated battery of a peace officer and one count of aggravated battery in a public place, according to the Chicago Police Department. All three charges are felonies.
DeLeon was arrested after he was identified through surveillance camera footage that showed the Sunday morning attack on the security guard. The footage showed the guard, identified by the Chicago Tribune as Zoa Stigler, approaching DeLeon to check on him after he sat on the sidewalk just before 2 a.m. Sunday and leaned on the building.
The recording showed Stigler, 46, approaching DeLeon again with a mop and a bucket after he vomited on the sidewalk. By that time, three of DeLeon’s friends had arrived and Stigler told all four to leave so she could clean up the mess.
“They didn’t want to,” Stigler told the Tribune. “‘No, we’re fine right here,’ (they said).”
When Stigler insisted that they move on, the group started to walk away. The video showed DeLeon starting to walk away, then stopping and standing where he was for a few moments as he drank from a bottle of water.
He started back toward Stigler and threw the water at her before punching her once in the face.
“I fell back, I stumbled back,” Stigler told the newspaper. “‘Oh my God, he just hit me in my eye.’ I’m in a daze, my vision is blurry, the left side of my face hurt.”
The video showed DeLeon calmly turning and walking away. His friends, one of whom had her hand to her mouth in apparent shock, followed him.
None of them went to Stigler to see if she was all right.
Stigler suffered fractures to her nose and eye socket and will need surgery, the Tribune reported. The president of the building’s condo association started a GoFundMe page to help pay her medical expenses.
The page on Wednesday had raised nearly $23,000 of its $30,000 goal in just two days.
The association president, Asad Khan, told the newspaper that Stigler is an “exemplary” worker, a single mother of two daughters who missed Mother’s Day on Sunday because she was working.
“Amazing person that she is, she actually cleaned up that guy’s vomit before she went to the hospital,” Khan said.
Dawn Valenti, a crisis responder in Chicago who is friends with the suspect’s family, told CBS Chicago that DeLeon, a member of the military, is “very remorseful” over his actions. She said she agreed to accompany him to the police station when he turned himself in to face the charges against him.
“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 said DeLeon has no previous criminal history.
“He wasn’t in his right mind. He hit a woman, which he doesn’t do,” Valenti said. “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.”
She said DeLeon wants to apologize to Stigler, but he cannot approach her during the investigation.
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