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Chicago Murder Victim's Dad: 'My Son Was a Heck of a Dude'

By DNAinfo Staff on June 12, 2013 11:18am

 Miguel Tharpe's father said his son had just dropped an employee home when he was killed reentering his pickup truck Tuesday night.
Miguel Tharpe's father said his son had just dropped an employee home when he was killed reentering his pickup truck Tuesday night.
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DNAinfo/Tanveer Ali and Facebook

NEAR WEST SIDE — Michael Tharpe was looking forward to spending Father's Day with his only son, Miguel.

"My son was a heck of a dude," said Michael Tharpe standing on the front porch of his Near West Side home Wednesday morning. "He had respect from everyone he knew. He was a proud man. An upstanding young man."

Miguel Tharpe, 35, was shot dead Tuesday night around 10 p.m. in the 900 block of North Long Avenue in Austin after what police said was a verbal altercation.

Michael Tharpe said his son, who ran a business with his mother maintaining "hundreds" of foreclosed homes in the Chicago area, was dropping off an employee at the worker's home. An argument was going on between other people, possibly including a relative of the employee, the father said.

Miguel Tharpe was walking to his truck while talking on the phone with his girlfriend, when someone yelled at him to get off the phone, his father said.

"He was going back [to his truck] to leave," the elder Tharpe said. "He probably didn't know what was going on and [the shooter] shot him thinking he was associated with it."

Shot in the chest and arm, Miguel Tharpe was pronounced dead at John H. Stroger Hospital at 10:37 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

No one was in custody Wednesday morning.

Michael Tharpe had to retrieve his son's white pickup truck, which had a lawnmower in the back, from the scene.

An only child and a graduate of Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center in North Park, Tharpe "was a God-fearing man who took responsibility for himself and those around him," said Melvin Brown Sr., a family friend.

"Miguel is like my son, too," Brown said.

Brown said he and the victim's father "were brought up by men and we did the same for our children." Michael Tharp "taught his child the same way I taught my children — to respect other people," Brown said.

Miguel Tharpe stood 6-foot-5 tall and played on the basketball team at North Park University. Tharpe recorded only the third triple double in the team's history in a game against Concordia University during the 1997-98 season.

But while Miguel Tharpe never played professional ball, Michael Tharpe said his son carved out a life where he worked hard developing a successful business.

"If my son was anything, he was a hard worker," Michael Tharpe said.