It was a clear Saturday evening, and Jose Tellez was hanging Christmas lights outside his Gage Park home.
A neighbor tending to her own decorations suddenly heard Tellez’s young daughter scream. Rushing across the street, she saw Tellez on the grass, bleeding from his head, still holding lights in his hand.
His daughter was by his side crying out, “My dad, my dad, he’s hurt,” said the neighbor, who asked not to be named. “I told her to get a blanket to put on his head. There was a lot of blood.”
The neighbor said she did what she could to help Tellez and keep his daughter calm. He wasn’t moving but he was still breathing when he was put in an ambulance.
Tellez was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died at 10:32 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Police said Tellez was attacked by two people around 6:30 p.m. in the 3500 block of West 58th Street. Police have not released descriptions of the suspects, saying only that they were males. A motive was unknown.
Tellez leaves a wife and three children. “He was a loving husband, father, brother and son,” said a niece, Daisy Castro, on a fundraising page.
The neighbor who came to his aid said Tellez was a good man who mostly kept to himself, and she couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to hurt him. She said the attack has left her “traumatized.”
Silverio Nodal, a neighbor down the street, said he knew Tellez for about 10 years and described him as “a family man, a hard-working guy.” He was into gardening and did landscaping work.
“He came here to provide the best for his family, you know as all of us do, the American dream,” Nodal added. “But this is not the American dream.
“It’s a shame. This is supposed to be the best season, the Christmas season,” Nodal said. “It’s a family thing. These things shouldn’t be happening. It’s a big shock for all of us.”
Nodal was decorating a Christmas tree in his home when the attack happened. He saw the ambulance down the block and at first thought someone had gotten sick. Nodal said he was “disheartened” when he learned Tellez had died.
In response to the attack, Nodal and other neighbors have banded together to keep watch over their block, which he said is a close community and very welcoming. When Nodal was sick with COVID recently, he said neighbors would rake leaves off his lawn.
In that spirit of togetherness, the block is coordinating a neighborhood contact list so people can report anything suspicious to each other, he said.
“Something must be done, should be done,” Nodal said. “It’s not only the police work. We as individuals, what can we do for our neighbors, what are we contributing?”