River North

‘Walking Man' Now Listed in Fair Condition After Suffering Severe Burns in Attack Last Month

Joseph Kromelis — the famed “Walking Man” of downtown Chicago — continues to improve after suffering life-threatening injuries last month when he was severely burned while sleeping near Trump Tower.

Kromelis’ is now listed in fair condition after initially being admitted to Stroger Hospital in critical condition at the end of May, according to Cook County Health spokeswoman Alexandra Normington.

No other information on his recovery was released.

Kromelis was burned over more than half of his body when he was doused with gasoline and set on fire on May 25. Doctors said at the time that he would be unable to recover from the injuries.

Joseph Guardia, 27, has been charged with the attack. He has offered no motive to police other than he is an “angry person,” according to prosecutors.

Kromelis had been sleeping under blankets in the 400 block of North Lower Wabash Avenue when surveillance cameras captured Guardia walk up and stand over him silently for 16 seconds, prosecutors said.

The video allegedly shows Guardia pour gasoline over Kromelis’ uncovered head and ignite it.

Guardia left as Kromelis’ entire upper body was engulfed in flames, prosecutors said. Kromelis tried to put out the fire but finally slumped against a garage door. Two security guards from Trump Tower came to his aid before an ambulance arrived.

Kromelis is well known to people who frequent downtown Chicago, easily recognized by his tall frame, striking facial features, long flowing hair and bushy mustache.

Six years ago — on May 24, 2016 — he was brutally beaten by someone with a baseball bat in the 400 block of East Lower Wacker Drive. The two were struggling over the bat when police arrived.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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