Dad dies after fight police call hate crime
BY SAM CHARLES AND STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporters March 21, 2014 8:31AM
Joseph Firek / photo from Chicago police
Updated: April 23, 2014 6:08AM
Michael Tingling had been a teen boxer in his native Belize, but in recent years, the North Side man had been pummeled pretty badly by heart disease and diabetes.
Still, the 59-year-old man was determined to stay healthy enough to see his daughter, Masharah Tingling, graduate soon from eighth grade at Chicago Math and Science Academy, said his ex-wife, Yolanda Simmons.
That hope came to an end Wednesday, when he collapsed and died after getting into a fight with another man in Rogers Park. Tingling was walking his daughter home at the time, Simmons said.
Joseph Firek, 59, was charged with one count of first-degree murder and a hate crime for allegedly battering Tingling in the 7100 block of North Clark Wednesday afternoon. The stress from the fight led to Tingling’s eventual death, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. On Friday, he appeared for a bond hearing at the George Leighton Criminal Courthouse, where he was ordered held in lieu of $250,00 bail.
“Her dad is not there to see her graduate,” said Simmons, who said she had been letting her ailing ex-husband live with her. “She wants her dad back. I wish I could give him back to her.”
About 2 p.m., Firek and Tingling got into an argument after Firek “made inappropriate gestures” to Tingling’s teenage daughter, police said.
“The man was giving my daughter some no-good looks,” Simmons said. “Her dad is very protective of her. No one could touch her.”
Simmons said her daughter told her she’d never seen the man before.
Firek, of the 7000 block of North Clark, then allegedly shoved Tingling and punched him in the chest. As Firek hit Tingling, he continuously made racial epithets, according to a statement from police. Tingling and his daughter ran into a nearby business, where he collapsed, police said.
He was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he was pronounced dead at 2:46 p.m., according to the medical examiner’s office. An autopsy Thursday found Tingling died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease, with stress from the altercation listed as a secondary factor, according to the medical examiner’s office. The death was ruled a homicide.