The 67-year-old man stabbed at a North Michigan Avenue hotel Saturday night had been downtown with seven family members for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, his niece said.
A second man was also injured in the attack while trying to keep the assailant from fleeing, police said, and a man is in custody.
Around 6:30 p.m., the family had gone to The Cheesecake Factory below the John Hancock Tower for dinner, but they found the wait to be too long, said the niece, Jameela Ali of Lincoln Park. Ali's cousin suggested that they try The Grill across the street at The Westin hotel at the corner of Delaware Street and Michigan Avenue, and they did.
After dinner, Ali went to the restroom to wash her hands and heard a commotion nearby, she said.
"I heard a ruckus from the men's bathroom," said Ali, 28. "It sounded like someone was banging on the walls."
As she emerged from the restroom, Ali saw two men fighting with each other, she said. The other, she said, was dressed all in black and seemed to be overpowering the older man, her uncle.
"My uncle was trying to free himself and the guy was trying to pull him back into the bathroom," Ali said. "He had such a strong hold on him."
Ali's uncle was able to get away, but he was badly injured, she said.
"His left eye was bruised, totally swollen shut," Ali said. "There was blood gushing from his neck, blood all over his clothes. He looked like he had been punched in the face several times. I started screaming. I didn't know what to do."
Ali rushed back to the restaurant, as did her uncle, to get help. The man's son-in-law started yelling for others in the restaurant to help. Ali said several restaurant employees chased after her uncle's assailant, who dashed across the street to The Cheesecake Factory.
Police said a 56-year-old man was taken into custody following the incident, and that a weapon was recovered, according to Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Amina Greer. A 35-year-old man was cut in the chest as he tried to stop the assailant from fleeing, Greer said. He was taken to Northwestern in good condition.
Meanwhile, her uncle and the family waited outside the hotel for an ambulance to arrive, making sure to keep pressure on the wound on his neck. He told his relatives that the attacker had tried to rob him, Ali said, but ultimately did not get away with his wallet.
"He was lucid, he was coherent," Ali said. "He knew what happened."
Ali's uncle, who lives in Oak Brook, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he remained as of 1:30 am. Ali said he suffered a laceration to his external jugular vein and received exploratory surgery to ensure there was no further damage.
He was also intubated, but the breathing tube should be removed in the morning so he’ll be able to talk, Ali said.
As she waited in the hospital, Ali said she and her relatives were left wondering how their uneventful evening turned into such a chaotic one.
"This shouldn't have happened," she said.
"We are not commenting, actually, at this point," said Westin spokeswoman Nurper Oztok Sunday. "It's still under investigation."
Oztok directed further inquiries to Chicago police.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times