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Even the most peculiar people in this world deserve to be treated with human decency and respect. That was the case for many years when it came to homeless Chicago native Joseph Kromelis, who many came to know as “The Walking Man.”

Sadly the 75-year-old became the victim of a gruesome attack in Lower Wabash last Wednesday after he was doused with flammable liquid and set on fire by a man who offered little to no excuse for his heinous actions.

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Kromelis is unfortunately not expected to survive the attack, which authorities are pinning on 27-year-old Joseph Guardia. He’s being charged with arson and attempted murder after being caught in surveillance photos standing over a sleeping Kromelis before drenching him with a large-sized McDonald’s cup of gasoline and lighting the flame. “For 16 seconds, he stood over the victim at close range,” said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Danny Hanichak, who also added, “His statement that he didn’t know a person was there was outrageous and it was a lie.”

More information on this tragedy in Chi-town below, via CBS Chicago:

“Hanichak said 75-year-old Joseph Kromelis was sleeping on the apron of a parking garage on the 400 block of North Wabash Avenue around 3 a.m. last Wednesday, when Guardia walked past him, holding a cup of gasoline in his hand.

After first walking past Kromelis to the intersection of Kinzie Street and Wabash Avenue, Hanichak said Guardi then walked back to where Kromelis was sleeping, poured the gasoline on his head, and lit him on fire.

The flames quickly spread to Kromelis’ entire upper body, and he was on fire for approximately three minutes before a security officer from a nearby building was able to get a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, according to Hanichak.”

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Kromelis is currently being held under sedation at Stroger Hospital of Cook County. However, doctors say the severity of his injuries makes survival seem impossible. “The Walking Man” has been a fixture in Chicago for decades, many comparing him favorably in likeness to entertainers George Harrison and Yanni.

Assailant Guardia tried to deny that he knew the pile of blankets had an actual human being under it, chucking his actions up to simply being an “angry person.” Hanichak scoffed at his explanation, stating, “This defendant decided to target the most vulnerable person possible, a 75-year-old homeless man sleeping on the street.”

We’re praying for a miracle in his recovery and that he gets the chance to walk on soon enough.

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