VIDEO: Suspect Charged After Chicago’s ‘Walking Man’ Set on Fire

27-year-old Joseph Guardia
Chicago Police

A suspect faces charges for allegedly setting a homeless person, who is well known in Chicago as the “Walking Man,” on fire Wednesday.

Authorities charged 27-year-old Joseph Guardia with attempted first degree murder and arson, Chicago police announced Sunday, according to CBS News.

The incident occurred early that morning on Lower Wabash Avenue when officers said a 75-year-old man was resting on the ground on North Wabash Avenue. Someone poured flammable liquid on the man, ignited it, then fled the scene.

Law enforcement sources named the victim as Joseph Kromelis, who was burned on 40 percent of his body, and police said the suspect hopped onto a blue line train following the incident.

Kromelis is known as the “Walking Man” by locals who have seen him roaming the streets for many years.

According to law enforcement, a security officer rushed over to help and used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Kromelis was then transported to a hospital and listed in critical condition.

Kromelis was the target of a baseball bat beating a few years ago, which put him in the hospital for several weeks.

“You know, for folks living out here on these streets, it’s not safe. There is violence out here,” Ali Simmons with the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless told Fox 32 Chicago last week:

Officials arrested Guardia on Friday on West Belmont Avenue, according to the CBS report, which added he was scheduled to make an appearance in bond court on Monday.

Meanwhile, at least 21 individuals were shot, four fatally, on Friday into early Sunday in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s (D) Chicago.


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