BURNSIDE — Days after Edward James Scott was fatally impaled on a fence post during a Father’s Day altercation, his mother is still struggling to make sense of what happened.
“He’s been with me all his life,” Catherine Harris, 79, said. “He’s never been out on his own. He’s my baby — I had 11 children — and he’s always stayed with me and taken care of me.”
Scott, a 48-year-old who never married or had kids of his own, died Sunday night after being impaled by a fence post.
According to family and police, Scott had been drinking beer Sunday afternoon. By early evening, he had become loud, and guests at a Father’s Day barbecue next door asked him to quiet down.
A verbal altercation ensued, police said, and Scott began to head home about 8 p.m. While he was standing on the sidewalk in front of his house in the 9100 block of South Greenwood Avenue, someone struck Scott in the head.
Scott tumbled forward, landing face first onto a wrought iron fence. One of the fence posts pierced Scott’s eye, causing fatal blunt force trauma, police said. Scott was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center at 8:56 p.m. on Sunday.
“I don’t know what happened,” Harris said. She had gone inside to get some water shortly before her son was attacked. “Next thing I know, he’s laying there. There’s blood on my gate.
“I don’t understand why someone would do something like that,” she continued. “My son was getting ready to come in the house.”
Police have ruled the death a homicide, said Officer Jose Estrada, a police spokesman. No one was in custody early Wednesday.
Neighbors claim the attacker wasn’t a guest at the party; he had just been walking down the street.
Harris said her son was a “beautiful child” who did “everything in the world for me” — cleaning the house, running errands and paying bills. Scott often shoveled snowy sidewalks for neighbors and was quick to lend a hand with household projects.
“He was pretty well liked in the neighborhood because he was quiet,” said one neighbor who didn’t wish to be named. “He kept to himself."
Scott suffered seizures and was “accident-prone,” his mother said.
“But he never wanted me to think that he was disabled and he couldn’t do anything for himself,” Harris said. “He’s the type of person who never thought about his own problems.”
The fence in front of Harris’ home — a well-tended house in Burnside — is missing the post where Scott was killed.
“I have to look at this every day now,” Harris said, noting that she’s talked to her landlord about moving.
“I have to see my son laying there. … I don’t know what would strike you to be so mean that would you do something like that,” she said.