The death of Dr. John Connolly from injuries sustained in a “gooning” attack in Oak Park a year ago is a tragedy. A distinguished doctor, dad of six, he was visiting his daughter in Oak Park, walking back to her house after visiting St. Giles Catholic church for morning services last April. Three young men attacked him, didn’t rob him. Hit him on the back of the head with a pipe and ran like the cowards they are.

Dr. Connolly declined medical treatment at the scene, chose not to be transported to a hospital. He knew, according to our reporting and the Trib’s, that he had been injured- head trauma, broken ribs- but didn’t feel he needed medical treatment.

Three months later he was home in Orlando and was found drowned in his swimming pool. An autopsy by the medical examiner in Florida concluded that Connolly died as a direct, if delayed, result of the attack. The Cook County State’s Attorney and the Oak Park police upgraded the case from battery to homicide last November. The story just surfaced because the family has offered a reward for information that leads to an arrest.

Seems clear that Oak Park cops have no specific leads in this case as either a battery or a murder. And while the reward might spark some activity it seems more likely that this case will grow colder.

Here’s an issue to ponder, though. If a person is attacked in a crime, clearly injured- a 71-year-old man knocked to the ground after being hit in the head with a pipe, but chooses not to be treated medically, is it entirely right that his later death be called a homicide?

No excuses for the thugs who carried out this attack. No criticism of the victim who plain and unquestionably was a victim of an awful crime. Just a question.

Join the discussion on social media!

Dan Haley

Dan was one of the three founders of Wednesday Journal in 1980. He’s still here as its four flags – Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark – make...