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Chicago baseball bat attack leaves women in critical condition
Crime Report


Link to news story here

The Irish foreign-exchange student was thrilled that she landed an internship that would enable her to extend her stay in Chicago, her friends say.

The University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student, 23, had just received the news Thursday and couldn't contain her excitement over avoiding hassles with her visa status.

"We were sitting in the computer lab and she was so excited because she was able to stay in the city," said Celine Vaaler, a friend and classmate.

As the exchange student and her 24-year-old friend were returning to the friend's Bucktown neighborhood home early Friday after a night out celebrating, they were attacked from behind and struck on the back of their heads by a robber wielding a baseball bat, police said.

The attacker escaped with their purses, but one woman was able to give police a description of him before she fell unconscious, police spokesman Robert Perez said. There could have been a second attacker, police said.

A police alert described the suspect as an African-American man 27 to 34 years of age, between 5-feet-7 and 5-feet-9, with a medium complexion. He was wearing a tan or light-colored hooded sweatshirt.

The student was listed in critical condition at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center on Friday, while her friend, a financial adviser, was listed in serious condition at the same hospital, a spokeswoman said.

The 3:30 a.m. attack shocked the exchange student's co-workers at Butch McGuire's Irish Pub on the Gold Coast. Owner Bobby McGuire said he was dumbstruck at the brutality used on the petite woman adored by employees and customers.

"I don't understand why someone felt the need to use a baseball bat on this little girl who (is) 5 feet tall," he said.

Classmate Jim O'Connell, who raced to the hospital, was shocked and angry.

"The fact that she's so far away from her family is awful," he said. "She's an amazing person."

Residents who live near the scene of the attack -- populated with half-million-dollar homes and trendy bars -- were also taken aback by its ferocity. The beating took place in the 1800 block of North Damen Avenue next to the Churchill play lot, which has a popular dog park.

"He could have just taken their purses and run," resident Laurie Stadt said. "He didn't have to beat them."

Investigators said this was the first such bat attack in the area and wasn't part of a pattern.

Firefighters used a ladder Friday to enter one victim's second-floor apartment from outside, so her uncle could retrieve her small black dog.

"He's sick," the uncle said of the attacker.

Tribune reporter Carlos Sadovi contributed to this report.

--Duaa Eldeib and William Lee

Click HERE for a WGN-TV report on this story.

Posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 @ 13:27:30 CDT by ShaunKranish
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Re: Chicago baseball bat attack leaves women in critical condition (Score: 1)
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