By Bob Uphues
A 21-year-old Chicago charged in May with threatening to kill a Riverside police officer with an ice pick died Aug. 6 after he jumped into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near 3800 S. Pulaski Road in Chicago.
Jaime Cantellano, according to the Chicago Tribune, was spotted jumping into the canal at about 6:45 p.m. Chicago Fire Department divers responded to the scene and found him at the bottom of the canal at about 7 p.m. He was pronounced dead at 7:42 p.m. in Mount Sinai Hospital.
At the time of his death, Cantellano was free on bond and on court-ordered electronic monitoring related to his arrest in Riverside on May 13. On that date, Cantellano, who worked for a landscaping company, took a bus to the North Riverside Park Mall and walked to the home of a former landscaping client in the 300 block of Shenstone Road.
The woman who answered the door at the house called police after Cantellano asked to see her husband. It was the second time Cantellano had come to the home acting suspiciously, according to police. He had also come to the home on Sunday, March 30, at which time the family discontinued using the Chicago-based lawn service.
Neighbors reported seeing him at other times in the neighborhood, and Cantellano reportedly admitted he had come to Riverside on May 12 as well.
When confronted by a police officer, Cantellano reportedly pulled an icepick from his coat, held it over his head and threated to kill the officer, spouting conspiracy theories about Freemasonry while he did so.
After a foot chase, police were able to disable Cantellano with a stun gun and took him into custody. He was charged with aggravated assault, unlawful use of a weapon and other offenses.
Cantellano reportedly told police he believed the Riverside homeowner was "a Freemason ruling the world" and that he went to the house to kill him.
Police pressed for Cantellano to receive a high bond that would have kept him behind bars, fearing for the safety of the Riverside resident. But Judge Ann Finley Collins allowed Cantellano to go free on a personal recognizance bond and put him on electronic monitoring.
Cantellano was supposed to appear in court on Aug. 11 for a hearing regarding a court-ordered psychological evaluation, said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.
Since his arrest, things had not gone smoothly for Cantellano. According to police, he was involved in a domestic violence incident with a family member and was briefly hospitalized by his family.
"He would have been better served in custody or remanded for medical treatment," said Weitzel.