With the approach of Christmas, Jose Eleazar Téllez stepped outside Saturday evening to put holiday lights on the exterior of his Chicago home, with his young daughter by his side.
Then a neighbor heard the girl scream.
Police say two unidentified men approached the father of three outside the home around 6:30 p.m. and beat him. The neighbor said she found Téllez on the ground bleeding from his head, with his hand still grasping the decorations.
“My dad, my dad, he’s hurt,” the girl told the neighbor, who did not want to be identified, reports the Chicago Sun–Times.
“I told her to get a blanket to put on his head,” the neighbor told the newspaper. “There was a lot of blood.”
Téllez, 49, was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office reported he died about four hours later.
Police did not have a motive or a more detailed description of the assailants, but said Téllez was struck in the head by two males “who were armed with blunt objects,” reports NBC Chicago.
“It was a tragedy that could happen to any of us here, and in this case unfortunately it was his turn,” neighbor Miguelangel Lopez told the outlet. “There was a meeting [Sunday] of the neighbors in which we are trying to do activities to be more united and better the communication to support each other in this type of case.”
On a GoFundMe page seeking donations to help with the family’s expenses, a relative wrote: “He was a loving husband, father, brother and son. He leaves behind a wife and three children.”
Téllez was “a family man, a hard-working guy” who enjoyed gardening and worked in landscaping, another neighbor, Silverio Nodal, told the Sun-Times.
“He came here to provide the best for his family, you know as all of us do, the American dream,” Nodal said. “But this is not the American dream.
“It’s a shame. This is supposed to be the best season, the Christmas season,” Nodal said. “It’s a family thing. These things shouldn’t be happening. It’s a big shock for all of us.”
Police say the investigation is continuing.