Man dies after ‘flier boy’ punched him in the head outside House of Blues

CHICAGO — A man has died after being punched in the face by a man who asked him for money outside the House of Blues on Wednesday night, according to Chicago police and witnesses. No one is in custody, but the attacker is believed to be a “flier boy” who works River North nightlife districts.

Police said the victim was walking in the 300 block of North Dearborn when two men asked him for money around 11:27 p.m. One of the men then punched the victim in the head, causing him to fall and strike his head on the ground.

Witnesses tried to save the man by administering CPR, but he was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital within an hour.

People who work in the Marina City complex said the offender regularly works people for money outside the House of Blues and along nearby bar strips. So-called “flier boys” often lure in prospects by distributing handbills that purport to show they are raising money for a sports team or charity. They typically work in tourist areas, nightlife districts, and the CTA. Some work in conjunction with “bucket boys” who pound plastic buckets like drums.

One worker told us the suspect is Black, about 6 feet tall. He has a beard and appears to be in his late 20s or early 30s. An officer who reviewed surveillance video of the attack said he was wearing a black puffy coat and headed north on State Street after punching the man.

The victim is the second person murdered in River North this year and the fifth murder victim in the Near North Side community area.

One of this year’s other murder victims was also killed after being punched in the head and falling to the ground. Russ Long, 53, died about two weeks after being attacked outside the Cartier store, 630 North Michigan, on the afternoon of June 29.

A man is awaiting trial on murder charges in that case.

On Monday, a 23-year-old woman was critically injured when a man struck her in the head with a log directly across the street from where Long was attacked. She remained unresponsive with head and brain injuries on Wednesday as prosecutors filed charges in the case.

Another man was killed after being attacked and striking his head on the pavement in Wrigleyville in January 2022. Sergio Ontiveros, 51, of Beverly Hills, California, died eight days after the January 17 attack. He was the father of a child with Tamla Robinson, the daughter of Motown singing legend Smokey Robinson.

No one has been charged with Ontiveros’ death.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com