Chicago Father Dies Protecting Teenage Daughter from Attacking Criminal

Masharah Tingling wipes away tears as she remembers her loving father, who died defending her honor. (NBC Chicago)
Masharah Tingling wipes away tears as she remembers her loving father, who died defending her honor. (NBC Chicago)

Every weekday, Masharah Tingling says her dad would walk her to her school and be waiting for her when classes finished up.

But on Wednesday afternoon, their ritual went terribly wrong when the two were confronted by a man with a lengthy criminal record on a Rogers Park street, according to Chicago police and Cook County prosecutors.

When the man hurled a racial epithet at them, Michael Tingling pulled his 15-year-old daughter behind him, authorities said. The man then struck her father in the chest, he tried to defend himself but moments later he collapsed in a nearby business and was rushed to the hospital in full cardiac arrest, according to prosecutors. Michael Tingling, 59, was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston less than a hour.

On Friday, Masharah, an 8th grader at Chicago Math and Science Academy, was helping her family pick out a casket and clothes to dress her father’s body in.

“I want him to have a proper funeral, to be buried the right way,’’ she said in a telephone interview.

A judge ordered Joseph Firek, 59, who is on parole for a residential burglary conviction, held on $250,000 bail Friday on charges of first-degree murder and a hate crime.

Firek has a criminal record dating back to 1996 that includes prison stints for burglary and theft convictions. His attorney said he was living on disability benefits for black lung disease, emphysema and psychiatric illness. He also said he was receiving outpatient psychiatric treatment.

Prosecutors said the altercation started at about 2 p.m. by the 7100 block of North Clark Street – near where Firek lived – when Firek walked past Tingling and his daughter.

The girls’ mother, Yolanda Simmons, who was not present, said Tingling picked up his daughter early from school for a doctor’s appointment and the two were first headed to buy a doughnut.

As Firek walked by, he brushed his shoulder against Tingling’s daughter, looking at her as he did. Police said Firek made “inappropriate gestures” to the girl.

According to the mother, Firek “stared at them, looked at her up and down, and her dad grabbed her, put her behind him and he told him, ‘You need to walk away.’“

“The guy was just standing there grinning,” she said.

In court, prosecutors said Tingling had pulled his daughter behind him after Firek had stopped in their path and asked, “What (N-word)?”

Authorities said Tingling is black and Firek is white.

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SOURCE: Chicago Tribune
Rosemary Regina Sobol, Meredith Rodriguez and Steve Schmadeke

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