Crime Briefs: Humboldt Park restaurant owner fatally stabbed

Anastacio Gonzales, 51. Courtesy CPD
Anastacio Gonzales, 51. Courtesy CPD

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] Humboldt Park man is facing murder charges in the fatal stabbing El Taco Naco’s owner over the weekend.

Hermenegildo Vilchis owned the Mexican taqueria at 2640 W. Chicago Ave. and had known the alleged stabber Anastacio Gonzales for a number a years, said Cook County prosecutors. Vilchis, 50, often paid Gonzales to do odd jobs around his business, like sweeping the restaurant and cleaning dishes.

Because of this familiarity, when Gonzales, 51, found out he was going to need a new place to live, Vilchis offered to let him sleep in his restaurant’s basement until he could find a new apartment, said prosecutors.

Then last Saturday, around 1:05 a.m., Gonzales reportedly entered the restaurant’s kitchen, picked up a butcher knife and placed it in his pants, said prosecutors. He then approached Vilchis and asked for the keys to the basement room Vilchis said he could move into, while also motioning to show he had the knife tucked into his pants, prosecutors allege.

Vilchis, standing in front of his wife and two patrons who had yet to leave the closed restaurant, refused to give him the key. Prosecutors allege Gonzales then became upset and lunged at the restaurant owner, stabbing him twice in his lower back and then again in the upper right chest after Vilchis fell to the ground.

Vilchis attempted to call police with his cell phone but prosecutors allege Gonzales grabbed it from him while threatening him with the knife. Still armed with the weapon, Gonzales reportedly fled out the rear door of the restaurant. After Gonzales fled, Vilchis’ wife called police using a landline and gave the responding officers the name of the man who attacked her husband, said prosecutors.

Meanwhile Vilchis, of the 3800 block of West Diversey, was taken to Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said he died at 1:22 a.m. of multiple stab wounds and ruled the death a homicide.

Police eventually found Gonzales trying to enter his girlfriend’s apartment at 1111 N. Francisco Ave. around 6 a.m., less than a mile north of El Taco Naco. Prosecutors allege his clothes had blood on them and that he admitted to throwing the butcher knife used to attack Vilchis into a yard near the intersection of West Iowa Street and West Rice Street. Police recovered the knife and charged Gonzales of the 2600 block of Rice Street, with first-degree murder and armed robbery.

On Sunday, he appeared before Judge Peggy Chiampas, who ordered him held on $1-million bond. Gonzales is expected to appear in court again on May 8.

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