Portage Park, IL—An Illinois community is still looking for answers in the aftermath of an attack on several teenage girls by a local pimp during a church festival. Gary Lee “Zig-Zag” Simmons was arrested and charged with 25 violent crimes ranging from simple assault to assault with a deadly weapon.
The nightmare for the quiet Chicago suburb began after dark during the St. Vincent Pallotti Church Festival Friday night. The faithful, spiritual sounds of roulette wheels and carnival games that typically exist during summer church festivals were interrupted by screams of terror when Simmons, 48, descended upon the festivities and began to randomly attack innocent Catholic girls as young as 13 years old.
Doreen Melatino, mother of two of the victims describes the terrifying moment.
“My two daughters, Brittney and Gracie were just twerking with some friends on the St. Thomas Aquinas statue when that monster approached them,” said Melatino holding back tears. “He kept calling them the ‘b-word’ while backhanding them across their faces and kicking them while they were down. It was terrifying. Who could do that to thirteen and fourteen year old little girls?”
And that was just the beginning. From there, Simmons retrieved a measuring stick from a nearby carnie and began to attack other groups of young girls.
“It’s like he was just hunting down young girls,” said Jackie Plough. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Police arrested Simmons during a traffic stop shortly after the attack in his ’65 Buick Electra. Officials say that Simmons has confessed to the crimes, but stated it was all a misunderstanding.
“I would never put my hands on no child,” said Simmons during a jail phone call with B&S. “There ain’t no way them bitches was kids. I thought they was unauthorized hos trying to move in on the block – and ‘Zig-Zag’ don’t play.”
Simmons went on to apologize for the case of mistaken identity. “If they was kids and not hos that’s fucked up – and I’m sorry, but who lets they own kids dress like that? Even my bitches has some self-respect.”
B&S spoke with the family of some of the victims and they say they don’t accept Simmons’ apology.
“Implying my child is a hooker just adds insults to her injury,” said Michelle Cumin. “Her bedroom webcam show is one hundred percent legal with our signed permission. He’s just upset she doesn’t need a pimp when she has her father and I.”
The St. Vincent Palloti Church is holding a candlelight vigil for the victims tomorrow night. Father John Picadillo says now is a time for healing. “We have to come together and try to make sense of what happened and heal together as a community,” said Father Picadillo. “Until then, we need to focus on the happier times and assist Pope Francis in his endeavor to combat the evil we experienced this week within our own back yard – by addressing climate change of course.”