Veterans hospital janitor Tyrone Carter and his alleged killer had two things in common, friends said: their job and a woman.
It was the second connection that cost Carter his life Saturday night, they said.
The 48-year-old father of three was fatally run over allegedly by a former Hines VA Hospital co-worker following a fight outside a Popeye’s restaurant in Maywood, police said.
Friends and relatives said the suspected killer was jealous that his former girlfriend was having an affair with Carter.
The suspect remained in police custody Sunday evening but had yet to be charged. Co-workers said Carter had accused the man of trying to use his car to run him over on the hospital grounds earlier this year. The alleged killer was fired two months ago after he was accused of stealing at the hospital, they said.
Carter, who lived on the 1200 block of West Homan, was taking a dinner break from his shift as a janitorial team leader at the hospital’s Extended Care Center when he ran into the former colleague near the Popeye’s and got into a fight, they said.
Minutes later, at 6:20 p.m., Carter’s unresponsive body was found lying on the ground outside the restaurant in the 1000 block of West Roosevelt, Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry said. He was declared dead at Loyola Hospital less than 20 minutes later.
As restaurant worker on Sunday noted with shock the tire skid marks where Carter was fatally struck. Carter’s relatives remembered him as a devoted family man who went out of his way to provide for them.
“He called the other day to ask what size my kids wear so that he could get them all winter jackets,” niece Patrice Watkins said. “He was always doing things like that.”
Carter’s sister, Angela Carter, said he had paid for her ride to a job interview on Friday and “he called me Saturday and was joking that I’d finally be able to take him out to dinner if I got the job,” she said.
Carter’s supervisor at Hines, Gerald Dates, described him as well liked and a hard worker who had an easy rapport with other staff and the veterans being treated at the hospital.
“He loved to talk to anyone,” Dates said, adding that the man now accused of killing him was “the only person who didn’t like him.”
“But I never thought it would come to this,” he said.