Belizean killed abroad Print E-mail
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Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00

Joseph Firek, a 59 year-old American, has been charged with murder in the first degree and a hate crime, after Chicago police believe he caused the death of a Belizean living in that city.

 59 year-old retired Belizean boxer Michael Tingling was well-liked in his North Side Chicago neighbourhood and on Wednesday, March 19, he was walking his 15 year-old daughter, Masharah, in the Rogers Park neighbourhood at around 2 p.m. That’s when he noticed that Firek was reportedly eyeing his daughter while making inappropriate gestures. Firek approached Masharah, and that’s when Tingling intervened, and they started to argue.

 Firek then reportedly punched Tingling, who uses a heart pacemaker, in the chest, while making racial epithets. The Tinglings then tried to avoid a further confrontation, and they headed to an alleyway, but Firek pursued them while shouting insults, and soon after Michael Tingling started having trouble breathing. Reports say that when Firek realized what was happening, he started repeating, “I hope he’s okay. I hope I didn’t kill him.”

 Michael Tingling was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead due to heart disease and stress from the altercation. His death has been ruled a homicide, and Firek, who was arrested on the scene, was charged with first degree murder and a hate crime. The High Court in that state ordered that he be held on a $250,000 US bond. Press reports say that Firek has a criminal record dating back to the 90’s.