LINCOLN PARK — Police are investigating the death of a 32-year-old man who was found severely beaten and unresponsive early Monday morning in Lincoln Park.
Officers responding to a reported battery found a man with severe head trauma on the ground at 1530 W. Fullerton Ave., according a news alert from Ald. Scott Waguespack's office.
The call of a battery came in to police at 3:50 a.m., and the man was found outside, police said.
Friends of the victim said he was found without a phone or wallet, but police could not confirm details of the incident.
The victim was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
He later was identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office as Jacob Klepacz.
The case has been classified as a death investigation.
A community alert from the alderman's office indicated it was not a random attack.
Police do not know the motive but said the victim met up with the possible offenders elsewhere in the city before coming to the Fullerton location, according to the community alert.
Longtime friends of Klepacz said he was watching the Chicago Blackhawks' playoff game Sunday afternoon with his best friend, Brian Campbell, at Timothy O'Toole's Pub in the Loop.
Klepacz and his friend had been bike riding earlier in the day and met at the bar to watch the game.
Friends said Klepacz posted on Facebook later in the night that he was at The Dugout Sports Bar & Grill in Wrigleyville.
"It wasn't like Jacob to go to a bar by himself like that," said Jeanine Klesczewski, one of Klepacz's best friends since grade school.
Klepacz, who worked as a carpenter, was found without a wallet and cell phone and had been beaten, according to Klesczewski.
But police could not confirm that he had been robbed.
"He was a great kid. It's baffling. It's shocking," Klesczewski said. "It's so unreal. It's like a cruel joke."
Area North detectives are investigating.
"He wasn't the fighting type or anything, so I don't understand why anybody would want to harm him," Klesczewski said. "He was a lover not a fighter."
Initial reports indicated that Klepacz was a Noble Square resident, but friends said he was living in an apartment building owned by his father in Lincoln Park.
Klepacz grew up in the Berwyn area and went to Morton West High School, and was still close with a tight-knit group of friends.
He was a big Blackhawks and Cubs fan, according to friends, and enjoyed snowboarding with Campbell.
"Cubs games are never going to be the same," Klesczewski said. "Nothing's ever going to be the same."
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 312-744-8263.