Highland Park, News

18-year-old involved in deadly fight at Fort Sheridan Beach reportedly tried to hide cellphone and wheelbarrow

A complicated, tragic story keeps getting more complicated.

Local authorities on Sept. 20 charged Jacob Firestone, 18, with obstructing justice after he attempted to conceal evidence related to the death of 45-year-old Matthew Ascaridis, of Highland Park, on Saturday, Sept. 17, on Fort Sheridan Beach.

According to previous Record reporting, Ascaridis reportedly lived near the incident location and approached two young men regarding noise volume on the beach, leading to a “violent confrontation.” Police do not yet know who, if anyone, was the instigator or the aggressor in the attack, Covelli said.

The Lake County Forest Preserve Police are leading the investigation and sent a press release last week that the the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office approved the obstruction charge against Firestone.

Firestone was hospitalized hours after the incident with “serious” injuries sustained in the early hours of Sept. 17. Investigators apprehended the teenager when he was released from the hospital, alleging that he hid evidence, including a cellphone and a wheelbarrow, said Chris Covelli, spokesperson for the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force.

The press release said additional charges are being considered by the state’s attorney against Firestone and Nicolas Caban, 20, who was arrested on Sept. 18 for unlawful possession of a firearm. The weapon is unrelated to the incident at Fort Sheridan Beach and was found during a subsequent search of Caban’s home, police say.

Covelli confirmed that investigators still do not believe any weapons were used in the fight or that any other individuals were involved.

Police believe that Caban and Firestone, both injured at the time, left the scene of the incident after 1 a.m., and four hours later, around 5 a.m., called 911 to report their injuries, Covelli said. The two were then transported from Caban’s home in Highland Park to the hospital.

Ascaridis — a married father of two and financial professional, according to his LinkedIn page — was found deceased around 5:10 a.m. police say. Ascaridis reportedly was for 12 years a youth hockey coach in Winnetka, as well.

Matthew Ascaridis, 45, with his family.

A GoFundMe online fundraiser launched in honor of Ascaridis and his family on Sept. 20. It has raised more than $75,000 in six days toward its goal of $150,000.

Highland Park’s Jamie Stronberg and Deerfield’s Lisa Zaslavsky began the fundraiser and called Ascaridis, “a kind, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth guy who always greeted friends and family with his warmth and a smile.” She added that the purpose of the GoFundMe is to “take as much financial burden” off the family as possible.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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