ANDERSONVILLE — Trey Elder was about four blocks from his home when he was mugged by two men early Tuesday morning, he said.
Around 3 a.m. Tuesday, Elder, 40, was walking to his Andersonville home from a staff holiday party at Jerry's Sandwiches, 5409 N. Clark St., when he was attacked by the men. During the attack, one of the men put a gun to his cheek, but Elder was still able to walk away from the attack with all his belongings, he said.
"It sucks that it happened, but it could’ve been way worse. They could’ve shot me. I could be in the hospital and need reconstructive surgery on my face. In that situation I came out pretty lucky, they didn’t get anything. I’m just like sore... and mad," said Elder with his voice trailing off.
According to Chicago Police Officer Thomas Sweeney, Elder was walking in the 1400 block of West Balmoral Avenue when a man got out of a car and punched him, knocking him to the ground. The attacker pulled out a gun, demanded cash, emptied Elder's pockets and left when they discovered he had no cash.
A few steps after turning east onto Balmoral Avenue from Clark Street, Elder was confronted by the first attacker, he said.
"I remember I got past the alley because there was ice, and I was trying not to slip on it. I was really staring at the ground more than anything because I didn’t want to slip on any ice. I didn’t even see the first dude until he was like a foot or two away from me and ready to punch me," Elder said.
Elder fell to the ground, landing on his satchel, and the man demanded his cash. Elder refused and found a gun in his face, he said.
"I don’t know why my reaction was to be angry instead of scared, but I was just pissed. The other dude rolled up with the gun ... he had his gun like in my cheek. And I’m still like f--- you. If you’re going to shoot me, you better do it now," he said.
"They were yelling at me like 'Where’s your phone? Where’s your cash?' And I’m like, I don’t have any cash. I don’t have any money on me. I did have my laptop in my bag, but when I fell back I was laying on my back so they really couldn’t get to it," Elder said.
After a pause, Elder said: "They didn’t even try to get to it."
When they demanded the phone again, he told them it was in his pocket. But when one of the men dug for it, he began punching again. Then the other attacker punched Elder again, he said.
"They got everything out of my pockets, but then at some point I think they just thought I was a psycho and they weren’t going to [mess] with me anymore. So they ran back to the car," but not before "clocking me one more time really hard," he said.
After they pulled away, his belongings were spread around him, including his new phone, he said.
"I just bought that phone like three months ago — $300 phone — and they didn’t take it," Elder said. "They didn’t even take anything. I think they just wanted cash, and when I didn’t have any they were just like …"
His injuries include sore arms and back, a bruised jaw and a bump on his forehead. After the attack, which lasted about a 1½ minutes, Elder went back to Jerry's to warn his co-workers, he said.
"He was shocked. They hit him in the head with a fist or gun. I'm not really sure, but he had a big swollen bump on the left side of his head," said Mario Perez, a co-worker who was there when Elder returned. "We were all shocked because we didn't know that would happen around here, but it sure as hell did."
The remaining partygoers left in cabs at the same time to ensure they got home safely. Perez and Elder said they think the attackers assumed Elder was a bartender or waiter returning home with tips.
"It's probably going to change the way people go home. The bartenders are here to 1 or 2 a.m., Perez said.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: