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Mag Mile stabbing victim’s family calls bartender hero

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Updated: December 20, 2012 6:28AM

A bartender at The Grill on the Alley restaurant on North Michigan Avenue acted as “a hero good Samaritan” when he tried to intervene after an Oak Brook oncologist was stabbed in the neck in a restaurant bathroom, the doctor’s family said Sunday.

They said Mir Jafar Shah, 67, was fortunate to be near Northwestern Memorial Hospital after he escaped the “surprise, unprovoked attack.” It happened Saturday night while the family was in town for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

“This was an enjoyable night out for the family turned horribly tragic,” said Mahin Samadani, Shah’s son-in-law, in a written statement from the family. “But it could have been much, much worse.”

Shah was stable Sunday, according to the family statement, and on his way to a full recovery. A hospital spokeswoman said he was no longer at Northwestern.

The attack happened at 8 p.m. at the restaurant on at the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago Hotel in the 900 block of North Michigan. Samadani said Shah was attacked in a bathroom shared by the restaurant and the Westin.

A 35-year-old unidentified bartender was wounded and taken to the hospital with a cut to his chest. Chicago Police said he had tried to stop the fleeing suspect.

Witnesses said they saw police storm into the nearby Cheesecake Factory and take a man into custody.

“We had numerous officers in the area working the parade detail,” Chicago Police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton said. “When the call came out, several officers immediately went to the scene and helped the victims. . . . They obtained a great description of the offender and witnesses helped, telling them the offender went into the restaurant. . . . They then searched the bathroom he exited and recovered the knife.”

Officers said they were questioning the suspect, but charges were still pending Sunday night.

Managers at the Cheesecake Factory and the Westin declined to comment.

Cesar Gonzalez and Nancy Camacho, who both live on the South Side, said they were on their way to an 8 p.m. reservation at a nearby restaurant when they saw a man and police. “We just heard someone say, ‘He has the wallet,’ ” Gonzalez said.

Camacho said she saw a man who apparently was an employee from the Westin run to the corner of Michigan and Delaware, jump up and kick the suspect with a “karate move.”

“They fell and we saw the knife,” said Gonzalez, 29, who added that the knife was about 6 inches long. “The kid got up and ran down the stairs and he tripped and fell” near the Cheesecake Factory.

Kathy Stewart, 53, of St. Charles, was in town for the annual light show when she looked out the window of her ninth-floor Westin room and saw a man placed on a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance.

Another man was handcuffed by police, she said.

Bystanders looked on as yellow tape blocked off part of the hotel. Blood was visible on the ground. The tape was removed about 10:20 p.m. and a worker used a power washer to clean the blood.

Gonzalez said he is now keeping his wallet in his vest pocket.

“That’s crazy,” he said.

Camacho, 30, added, “There’s so many people around, so many kids. It’s just sad.”

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