Vigil to be held Tuesday in Plainfield for boy killed in alleged hate crime attack

Wadea Al-Fayoume, the six-year-old boy killed in an alleged hate crime attack
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A vigil will be held Tuesday night for Wadea Al-Fayoume, the six-year-old Plainfield boy killed on Saturday in an alleged hate crime attack.

Wadea and his 32-year-old mother, Hanaan Shahin, were allegedly targeted by their landlord, 71-year-old Joseph Czuba, who attacked the pair because of their Islamic faith, according to a press release from the Will County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials say Wadea was stabbed 26 times. Shahin suffered over a dozen stab wounds and is being treated at a local hospital.

“All of Plainfield stands together as a community and as Americans – repulsed by human evil and hate,” said Plainfield Mayor John Argoudelis in a Facebook post on Monday. “We mourn young Wadea. We can’t fathom losing you at such a tender age. We pray for his mother, father, and family to have strength and we stand with you.”

The vigil starts at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night at the Prairie Activity and Recreation Center, 24450 W. Renwick Rd. Doors open at 8:15 p.m, and all are welcome. Organizers say parking is limited and suggest carpooling for those who can.

The Plainfield vigil follows a funeral for Wadea in Bridgeview on Monday. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson were among those who mourned with the family.

First court appearance for Czuba

On Monday, Oct. 16, Czuba appeared before Will County Judge Donald DeWilkins, who denied his attorney’s request for pretrial release under electric monitoring.

Prosecutors argued Czuba was a danger to Shahin and the general public.

Czuba is scheduled to appear in court next on Oct. 30.

What happened in the incident

At about 11:40 a.m. on Oct. 14, Will County police deputies were sent to a home near the 16200 block of S. Lincoln Highway in unincorporated Plainfield Township. Officials say they were responding to a reported stabbing incident between a landlord and renter.

Police found Wadea and his mother inside the residence in a bedroom. They had both sustained stab wounds to their chest, torso, and upper extremities.

Their landlord, Joseph Czuba, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of a hate crime, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

It is alleged he stabbed both victims using a 12-inch serrated military-style knife with a seven-inch blade. Upon arrival, police found Czuba sitting on the ground near the driveway of the residence.

Fundraising for Wadea’s family

A LaunchGood campaign has raised nearly half a million dollars for Wadea’s family.

Plainfield restaurant Big Sammy’s is holding a fundraiser on Wednesday, Oct. 25 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to raise funds for the cause. A portion of sales at both of the restaurant’s Plainfield locations will be donated to Wadea’s family.

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