‘They tortured him’: $1000 offered for info on murder of homeless man

Community activist Andrew Holmes standing near where a homeless man was beaten to death early Sunday in the East Ukrainian Village neighborhood. | Sam Charles/Sun-Times

Twelve hours after a homeless man was beaten to death in East Ukrainian Village, blood was still on the sidewalk and mixed with water in a nearby pothole.

On Sunday afternoon, community activist Andrew Holmes was walking up and down a stretch North Ashland, passing out fliers and asking anyone with information about the victim or potential suspects to come forward. He was putting up $1,000 for any information that would lead to a prosecution.

“They tortured him,” Holmes said. “He was suffering enough, just by being homeless, but to have someone come and torture him and beat him [is] unacceptable in this city.”

Monday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office identified him as Benjamin Soto Ramirez, 67. For the last several months, he had slept in the doorway of a condo building being constructed in the 1100 block of North Ashland.

An autopsy found Soto Ramirez suffered multiple blunt and sharp force injuries, and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Officers found him with severe head trauma about 2 a.m. and he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Chicago Police detectives were canvassing the area Sunday afternoon. Holmes pointed to several security cameras in the area that he hoped captured any suspects before, during and after the attack.

A piece of neon yellow paper taped to the building’s door read: “Homeless Lives Matter!!”

A homeless man was beaten to death in the 1100 block of North Ashland early Sunday. Twelve hours later, his blood had pooled in a nearby pothole. | Sam Charles/Sun-Times

“He has a family somewhere,” Holmes said. “He has a mother. He has a father. They need to understand that and they need to pay for what they did to this individual.”

Jared Peterson, who owns a furniture shop a few doors north of where the man was killed, said he has seen the victim for the last few months, always staying to himself.

“He’s been here for months now, just laying, not bothering anybody,” Peterson said. “It’s awful.”

A block north of where the man was killed, Terry Togher, 60, sat on the sidewalk, asking passersby for change, outside the Division Blue Line station.

When told that a homeless man was recently killed nearby, Togher said: “I just turned 60 in November. I’ve gotten a lot more careful over the years. Now, 20 years ago, I wouldn’t have gave a flying f—. Now? That’s in my head that you told me.”

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