CRYSTAL LAKE – Jim Gallagher and son Timothy Gallagher had a pact – whenever either would take a trip, he would text to the other that his destination was reached.
Timothy Gallagher made his way back to his Crystal Lake home from Western Illinois University in Macomb on Nov. 16 for the Thanksgiving holiday. The 21-year-old followed through on the agreement and sent a message to his father, who was out of town on a hunting trip.
That was the last communication Jim Gallagher had with his son, who was found dead Nov. 18 in an alley in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.
“For me, it’s like being hit in the head with a baseball bat, and then you are numb,” Jim Gallagher said. “He was such a great kid. If I was half as upbeat as he was, I would be a lot better person.”
Few details have been released by investigators about what took place in the hours before Timothy Gallagher was found dead in an alley in the 400 block of West Fullerton Parkway. An investigation is ongoing.
Police were called to the alley shortly after 5:15 a.m. for a report of a man down, according to the Chicago Police Department News Affairs Office.
Timothy Gallagher was on the ground with severe head and body trauma, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gallagher, a 2009 graduate of Crystal Lake South High School, drove to the north side of Chicago with a friend Nov. 17 to meet up with friends, Jim Gallagher said. The group went to a few bars in the Wrigleyville and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.
Video surveillance cameras show Timothy Gallagher leaving a bar in Lincoln Park by himself between 3 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., and later getting out of a cab in front a building less than a mile from the establishment, Jim Gallagher said. He then is seen entering the apartment building, although his destination is unclear, and later, hitting the pavement.
It appears Gallagher fell from the upper floors of the 17-story building, police News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak said in her initial report. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office is not ruling on the death until police finish their investigation.
“He was your typical 21-year-old kid,” Jim Gallagher said of his son, who was studying journalism at Western Illinois University. “He liked to have a beer, loved to fish and loved watching mixed martial arts.”
The family has reached out to friends on Facebook, seeking any information about what Timothy Gallagher might have been doing at the building in Lincoln Park.
“Brutal is too light of a word to describe what we are going through,” Jim Gallagher said. “There are no words to describe this. We need to know what happened to our son.”