Five Indiana men face charges after Tinley Park restaurant attack

Website attributes action to "anti-racist" group

May 21, 2012

Quinn Ford, The Associated Press

Police charged five Indiana men on Monday after they allegedly attacked a group of patrons at a Tinley Park restaurant this past Saturday.

A spokesperson from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said the five will face felony charges of mob action, criminal damage to property, and aggravated battery.

Spokeswoman Sally Daley said the following five are charged and will appear in bond court this afternoon: John Tucker, 26 of Martinsville, IN; Cody Sutherlin, 23 of Bloomington, IN; Dylan Sutherlin, 20 of Gosport, IN; Jason Sutherlin, 33 of Gosport, IN; and Alex Stuck, 22 of Bloomington, IN.

The charges stem from what Tinley Park police are calling an “altercation” that occurred at the Ashford House Restaurant around noon on May 19th, according to a press release from the Tinley Park Police Department.

David Thamm, a manager at the restaurant’s adjoined grocery store, said approximately eighteen men filed into the restaurant and began flipping tables and attacking a specific group of people.

“They were in and out within a minute really, so it happened really fast,” Thamm said. “They all had hammers or bats or some kind of weapon they could use.”

According to the statement, 10 people were injured, and three of those injured were taken to local hospitals.

The release also stated the offenders left in three vehicles. Shortly after, police caught up with one of those cars and arrested its five passengers.  

Police said the attack was not a random act.

An anti-racist organization took credit for coordinating the attack on in a statement on its website. “Anti-Racist Action” accused the restaurant patrons of meeting for a “White Nationalist Economic Summit and Illinois White Nationalist Meet-and-Greet.” The website stated “anti-fascists” entered the restaurant and physically attacked the patrons to disrupt the meeting.

“These anti-fascists are committed to shutting down and attacking any racist, nationalist, or fascist organizers or individuals that they encounter.”

Commander Steve Vaccaro said in an email Tinley Park police would not confirm or deny the affiliations of the alleged attackers or victims as of yet.

A statement issued by Tinley Park police on Monday afternoon reported the group at the restaurant identified itself as belonging to the Illinois European Heritage Association. Police are still investigating the relationship between those arrested and the victims.

Two members of the group attacked in the restaurant were also arrested, according to the statement. Steven Speers, 33 of Grand Forks, North Dakota, was arrested on a warrant for possession of child pornography from Dallas County, Texas. Francis John Gilroy, 65 of West Palm Beach, Florida, was charged with unlawful possesion of weapons by a felon.

The statement says no evidence at this point shows the incident is connected to the NATO summit in any way.

According to the Cook County Circuit Court clerk's office, bond was set at $175,000 for four of the five alleged attackers. Bond was set at $250,000 for Jason Sutherlin.

The next court date was set for June 12th.