A 26-year-old man allegedly battered two male Wilmette Public Library employees, including a senior citizen whom he punched at least nine times, in early September, according to a police report obtained by The Record.
Wilmette police responded to the library at approximately 1:12 p.m. Sept. 4 after receiving a report of an altercation. Officers found that a reportedly unprovoked male subject, later identified as George Seaberry, had battered two employees and subsequently fled the scene.
One library employee was treated for injuries on the scene, while the other — the subject whom Seaberry struck between nine and ten times — was transported to Evanston Hospital for “some pretty serious injuries,” according to Cmdr. Michael Robinson of the Wilmette Police Department.
Robinson said the individual was released, but the current status of the injured employee is not clear. Anthony Auston, the library’s director, declined to comment on the situation.
Robinson told The Record a discussion was taking place Sept. 4 between the employees and Seaberry before the situation quickly escalated into violence when Seaberry reportedly attacked the first employee.
According to the incident report — obtained by The Record via a public-records request — this was the second time in a week that there was a confrontation between Seaberry and Wilmette library workers.
Seaberry reportedly visited the library on Aug. 27 and after being asked by a staff member to wear a mask in the building, Seaberry reportedly asked for a manager and told that manager that the employee “flinched” at him, meaning he wanted to fight, the report states.
It is unclear if the library employees involved in the Aug. 27 conversation were the same who were battered Sept. 4. Robinson said police do not believe the Aug. 27 incident was the motive for the Sept. 4 attack.
The report states that witnesses from the Sept. 4 altercation told police that Seaberry entered the library and began to repeatedly state that one of the library workers owed him $1,500 because the employee “flinched” at him. The worker denied “flinching” at Seaberry multiple times in response to Seaberry’s claims. Seaberry reportedly then accused the second library worker of also “flinching.”
That’s when Seaberry reportedly punched one of the workers in the head and when the employee fell to the ground he “landed” eight or nine additional punches to the worker’s “head and upper body area.”
Seaberry then “forcefully” pushed the other worker to the ground with both hands before fleeing the library, according to the report.
Wilmette police located Seaberry two days later at 7:20 a.m. after the department received a call of a person sleeping in the caller’s doorway, according to Robinson.
Police located Seaberry in a residential area in the 1100 block of Greenleaf Avenue, where he was arrested “without incident,” Robinson said. Seaberry was charged with three counts of aggravated battery, two of which are advanced because a victim was over the age of 60, per police.
More on the Aug. 27 incident
A library worker noticed Seaberry laying down on the floor in the reading room on Aug. 27. The worker informed Seaberry at 3:30 p.m. that the library was currently limiting guests to one-hour time slots to remain inside. Seaberry was not wearing a mask at that time, so the worker told Seaberry the library’s policy mandated face masks.
One hour later, when his time slot expired, the worker asked Seaberry to wrap up his visit and again reminded him of the library’s policy regarding face coverings because he was improperly wearing his mask, the report says.
Seaberry then became agitated, got in the worker’s face and said he was going to call the police because the worker “flinched.” The employee asked Seaberry to leave the building and Seaberry subsequently asked to see a library manager. He then told the manager that “flinching” meant the worker wanted to fight.
Robinson told The Record the department does not know why Seaberry attacked the workers Sept. 4 and described Seaberry’s actions as “unprovoked.” He said Seaberry does not have a history of similar incidents in Wilmette.
Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.