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Richard’s Bar Stabbing Suspect Charged With Second-Degree Murder

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Thomas Tansey will be in court on Thursday

Family, friends and supporters protest outside Richard’s Bar, demanding justice for Kenneth Paterimos, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Kenneth was fatally stabbed outside Richard’s Bar last month. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Protesters gather March 3 outside of Richard’s Bar in River West.
Tyler Lariviere/Sun-Times
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

The man who police said fatally stabbed a 23-year-old man outside Richard’s Bar has been charged with second-degree murder, according to a spokesperson for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. Thomas Tansey is scheduled to appear in bond court on Thursday after police took him into custody on Wednesday, which is all after they released him three days after the February 21 slaying in River West.

On that Friday night, 30-year-old Tansey allegedly stabbed Kenny Paterimos multiple times with a box cutter outside the bar after using a homophobic slur. Paterimos, a barista, was bisexual. Paterimos and Tansey had a confrontation inside the bar, which led to Tansey’s ejection from Richard’s, police said. Paterimos would leave his brother’s side for a cigarette. When he left the bar, police said Tansey attacked him. Police said Paterimos came back inside the dive bar after he was wounded. His brother would rush outside to apprehend Tansey, pinning him until police arrived.

Charges weren’t filed until Wednesday as police had released Tansey after he claimed he killed Paterimos in self defense. Police continued to investigate as Tansey remained free. Police then issued a murder warrant on Sunday for Tansey’s arrest.

Meanwhile, Paterimos’s family and friends — plus supporters — gathered Tuesday night outside of Richard’s Bar to protest. Sporting T-shirts and holding up signs, they expressed anger that Tansey was released and felt Richard’s Bar’s employees and customers were not cooperating with police to apprehend Tansey.

Paterimos’s mother, Diona Bueno, addressed the crowd of under 100 on Tuesday night. In an emotional batch of comments, Bueno stood in front of Richard’s Bar’s main door. She called for Mayor Lori Lightfoot to shut the bar down.

“He was not a nice man, and I tried, God knows I tried to forgive him,” Bueno said of Tansey, an ex-Marine. “I believe in all my military men, I believe in my city, I believed in the police and they haven’t done a hot-damn frickin’ thing.”

Bueno made those comments as a police office slipped in behind her inside the bar, trying to keep peace between protesters and bar workers. Bar staff would lock their doors and prevent Bueno and other protesters from entering. Bueno repeatedly pounded on the door, asking for admittance so she could pray and say farewell to her son.

Many of the protesters believe Richard’s Bar didn’t do enough to bring Tansey into custody, claiming they had a disregard of law. They cited how the bar ignores city law which bars indoor smoking in public places as customers are free to light up during most days. But on Tuesday, the bar was on its best behavior. With police swarming the area, there was no indoor smoking on Tuesday night. Richard’s Bar, near the Grand, Milwaukee, and Halsted intersection, is a popular destination after most bars close at 2 a.m.

Tansey is scheduled for a bond hearing at noon at 26th Street and California Avenue, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

Richard's Bar

491 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60610 (312) 733-2251