Oak Park police have received 142 calls as of early Tuesday morning in response to over 25,000 Community Alert fliers. The fliers were passed out early last week identifying a "person of interest" in the June 22 murder of southeast Oak Park resident Peter D'Agostino. While he wouldn't discuss details of any active leads, Chief of Police Rick Tanksley said Thursday that Oak Park detectives have been looking into every tip. Those tips include information about the "person of interest" being sought by police, as well as reported sightings of the car he is believed to be driving.
"We're checking out each one," said Tanksley of the phone tips. He noted one tip in particular that led police to conduct a canvas in the 1300, 1400 and 1500 blocks of South Home Avenue in Berwyn last Wednesday afternoon, though nothing panned out.
Tanksley said that the composite and information was also included in the Chicago Police Department's Daily Bulletin for June 30, making every officer in the 15th and and 25th police districts neighboring Oak Park aware of the man Oak Park police are seeking.
Tanksley also stated there was no connection with a police report of a June 22 incident in which a male juvenile was struck in the face, head and shoulder with a stick while walking his dog between 5:45 and 7:23 p.m. near the corner of Cuyler Avenue and Harvard Street. That report noted that the young man suffered various head and facial injuries, as well as to the neck and chest.
There have also been unconfirmed reports that the weapon used to kill D'Agostino, who died of blunt force trauma to the head, was a sledge hammer. However, Tanksley declined to discuss any specifics regarding that aspect of the case, saying, "I can't confirm the weapon that was used."
Tanksley said that he and other village officials will attend a community meeting that has been scheduled for Thursday, July 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Oak Park Conservatory at East Avenue and Garfield Street.
Such a face-to-face meeting with village officials has been requested by members of the Southeast Oak Park Community Organization, (SEOPCO), several of whom expressed concern and anxiety over recent events in their neighborhood. According to a flier being passed out by SEOPCO in the southeast section of the village, all interested individuals are invited to attend the event, which will feature a question-and-answer session.
Among the goals of the meeting are to collectively honor the memory of Peter D'Agostino, to raise commitment to heightened neighborhood vigilance, to seek reassurances that Oak Park police are doing everything they can, to learn what neighbors can do to increase their sense of security within their neighborhood, and to discuss "any other crime-related issues that need to be addressed."
"It's to get some communication with our village [officials] that will ease the fears in the neighborhood," said Marion Biagi.
Biagi said last Wednesday that her neighborhood group is not questioning the police response to the D'Agostino killing.
"They've been right on top of it," she said. "They're not sitting with their feet up."
However, Biagi said that the Thursday meeting will be a necessary discussion, primarily to calm raw emotions in the wake of a particularly brutal and pointless murder.
Village Communications Director Dave Powers said Tuesday, "I think that it's good for the residents to be able to ask the police chief anything they want to ask him," said Powers.