Soldier held on $250000 bail in attack on female security guard
A uniformed female security guard had twice offered to help the 23-year-old man who was slumped over and vomiting outside a River North building before he hauled off and punched her in the eye, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday. The guard, who suffered extensive fractures to her face, stayed to clean up Matthew DeLeon’s vomit before going to the hospital, authorities said. The attack was captured on surveillance video that quickly went viral.
DeLeon, of the 4900 block of West Eddy Street, turned himself in to Chicago police late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, as soon as he saw the footage, according to his attorney, Richard Fenbert. Fenbert said DeLeon has been in the Army for five years and is currently on active duty. He served nine months in Afghanistan and was scheduled to report to Hawaii early next month, the lawyer said. At a bond hearing Wednesday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered DeLeon held on $250,000 bond on three counts of aggravated battery.
Prosecutors said DeLeon had been arrested for DUI in California in July 2010. The attack occurred about 2:15 a.m. Sunday outside a residential building in the River North neighborhood, prosecutors said. The security guard, 46-year-old Zoa Stigler, saw DeLeon lying down outside the building where she works, said Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Antonietti. She offered to call police or an ambulance but told him he could not stay, according to the prosecutor.
Stigler went back inside, then came out again, but DeLeon was still there, Antonietti said. She called police, the prosecutor said. DeLeon’s wife arrived, and DeLeon sat up, Antonietti said. Stigler then heard vomiting. Stigler can be seen on the video bringing out a bucket to clean up. By this time, DeLeon’s sister-in-law and her boyfriend had also shown up.
Stigler told all four to move along so she could clean up.
“They didn’t want to,” Stigler said in an interview with the Tribune. Stigler said she insisted. “Move over,” she recalled telling them. Before she knew it, the man began walking toward her, Stigler said.
The man threw a water bottle at her and then dropped the bottle and punched her in the face, according to the video and the prosecutor’s account. Stigler said she fell backward.
“Oh my God, he just hit me in my eye,” Stigler said she thought to herself. “I’m in a daze, my vision is blurry, the left side of my face hurt.”
The four then walked away.
“He wasn’t stumbling when he walked away,” Stigler said. “He was steady. Like, no remorse, no nothing.”
Prosecutors said she suffered nasal and orbital fractures and that her follow-up treatment will involve a plastic surgeon and an ophthalmologist. Fenbert, DeLeon’s attorney, said his client expressed “deep remorse” when he turned himself earlier this week.
“He’s going to do whatever he can to make this right for the victim,” Fenbert told reporters after the court hearing.
DeLeon’s family members who were in attendance at the bond hearing Wednesday declined to speak with reporters and walked past TV cameras inside the courthouse lobby while wearing sunglasses. Assad Khan, the president of the condo association at the building where the attack took place, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Stigler’s expenses. The initial goal was $5,000, but donations poured in and by Wednesday morning, more than $18,600 had been raised. Khan said Stigler began working there about two months ago.
“She needs surgery on her eye,” Khan said. “He fractured her right eye socket and the bridge of her nose.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Stigler had picked out a photo of DeLeon at the Area Central police station.
“I was surprised because I didn’t think I could,” she said.