CHICAGO — A 75-year-old homeless man was set on fire and critically injured in the city’s River North. Chicago police have now released photos of the suspect.
Police said the incident happened around 3 a.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of North Wabash. The 75-year-old was laying on the ground when an unidentified man approached and poured a flammable liquid on him.
The suspect ignited the 75-year-old before fleeing the scene on foot to a nearby CTA Blue Line stop, according to police.
A security officer from a nearby building used a fire extinguisher to put the fire out.
The victim is known as the “Walking Man,” gaining popularity among Chicago residents over the years.
The victim, Joseph Kromelis, was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with burns to nearly half his body. He is in critical condition, police said.
Scott Marvel says he met the “Walking Man’ about six years ago when someone beat the then-nearly-70-year-old. Marvel says she printed $25 t-shirts with Kromelis’s picture to help raise money.
Marvel says this time around, he is doing the same.
“Within 15 minutes, we had the shirt up again,” Marvel said.
Community activist Andrew Holmes said his foundation and the Michael Airhart Foundation are issuing a $1,000 reward for information that will lead to an arrest.
There is no one in custody. Area Three detectives are investigating.