Police seek 'person of interest' in D'Agostino murder

Weekend canvas produces witness who allegedly saw man near scene at time of killing

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Oak Park police said Monday that they are seeking a "person of interest" in relation to last week's murder of Peter D'Agostino. Monday afternoon police began  circulating a Community Alert bulletin with a composite image and description of an African American male estimated to be in his mid 20s to mid 30s, 5-foot-10-inches to 6-foot-2-inches tall, thin to medium build, with a medium complexion.

"This individual can be placed on the block of the homicide around the time of the homicide," said Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley. The man police are seeking, he said, was seen by a witness walking down the street to where the incident occurred, then "returning quickly to his vehicle."

Just as important, Tanksley said, police have a description of what they say is a distinctive automobile. The car, a mid-sized older model passenger vehicle, is turquoise or light blue in color, with a maroon or dark colored front passenger side fender.

Tanksley stressed that the individual in the widely distributed flyer is not a suspect, and is being sought solely as a person of interest that they wish to question. He urged anyone having any information regarding the person or vehicle being sought to call the Oak Park police station at the main number, 708-386-3800, which will be manned 24 hours a day.

D'Agostino, a popular 42-year-old UIC professor, was bludgeoned to death around 5:30 p.m., June 22, in the 1150 block of South Harvey, two blocks from his home in the 1150 block of South Cuyler. D'Agostino was buried Monday after an emotional funeral service at Ascension Church.

Nine newly arrived Oak Park police recruits, fresh out of the training academy, spent their first day on the job Monday walking door to door passing out the flyers with the description of the potential witnesses. The hope is that the flyer will lead to others who may have witnessed something material to the case. In addition, Tanklsey said that officers from his department have sent copies of the composite to all media outlets, and are hand delivering copies to all Chicago police district headquarters.

"We're going to saturate the entire community," Tanksley said. "We're going to place this thing everywhere."

Complete coverage of Peter D'Agostino's murder, his funeral and an obituary will be in Wednesday's edition.

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