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Marques Gaines

(Above) Marques Gaines, who worked at a Mag Mile hotel, was hit by a taxi in River North early Sunday, under circumstances less than clear, and died hours later at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

Friends remember Marques Gaines, dispute ‘fight’ before struck, killed in River North

11-Feb-16 – One of Marques Gaines’s many friends described him as “a class act who left things better than when [he] first walked in,” on the 32-year-old Lake View resident’s Facebook page on Monday, the day after Gaines was killed in River North. His death, as described by Chicago police and news media, conflicts with how they remember him.

At about 4:20 a.m. on Sunday, some sort of altercation happened between Gaines and another man near the intersection of North State Street and West Hubbard Street. Gaines was hit in the head, fell into the street, and was struck accidentally by a taxi. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead about four hours later.

Chicago police had no new information on Wednesday. Friends of Marques dispute published reports that he got into a “fight.” They say more likely, he “intervened on behalf of someone who was being treated unfairly but it led to tragedy.”

Holly Wielechowski and Marques Gaines (Left) Marques (pronounced the same as Marcus) clowns with a friend, Holly Wielechowski, in this photo on his Facebook page.

Gaines moved to Chicago in 2008 from Fayetteville, Georgia. He lived in the Lake View neighborhood north of the Loop, not in West Town as the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said, and worked in River North at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile.

“He did live the hospitality industry lifestyle, going out late after shifts, etc., but was always responsible with work and personal obligations,” recalls Kim Lippke, a friend who said Gaines was last seen at Mother Hubbard’s Sports Pub on West Hubbard Street, a few steps from where he was killed.

(Right) Area where incident occurred, near intersection of North State Street and West Hubbard Street. 7-Eleven at corner is 418 North State Street. The three-story brick building with red awning is the location of Mother Hubbard’s Sports Pub. Photo by Steven Dahlman

“I have known Marques for 15 years now and he didn’t have a mean bone in his body, so learning that he lost his life because of a fight doesn’t make a bit of sense to anyone,” says Lippke. “Being involved in a fight that went terribly wrong just doesn’t fit his character.”

“I knew him as a good guy, a caring friend, and a gentle spirit,” said Craig Griffin. “The man I knew wouldn’t have fought anyone.”

The taxi driver stopped. He says he did not see Gaines in the street. The man who police say punched Gaines left the area and as of Monday had not been found.

A funeral service for Gaines was scheduled for this weekend in Atlanta.

On his Facebook page, friends posted hundreds of memories of Gaines. Here are just a few…

“We could all be hanging out having a good time and then someone would say, ’Marques Gaines will be here in a few,’ and the energy and excitement that would fill the room just waiting for you was indescribable.”

“I will miss all the obnoxious, hilarious, ridiculous, sometimes inappropriate, most-fun-I’ve-ever-had dance parties with you. We will all miss your goofy laugh, charming smile, impeccable style, effortless swagger, and genuine friendship.”

“For all of those lucky enough to have ever met our dear friend Marques Gaines, please take a page out of his book and treat life as a gift, get to know people, dance, laugh, and bring joy into the world. We all lost an amazing person and we will all yearn for a day to share a cocktail and laugh with him again.”

 Previous story: Man hit by taxi after getting into fight at State & Hubbard