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Police: Murdered man was 'peacemaker'

Wheaton, IL

This month Michael Scalzo saw two misdeeds near his Wheaton apartment.

After the first, the discovery of an abandoned newborn, he said he wished there was something he could do to help. The second time, when he saw a fight brewing, he acted.

While trying to break up an altercation between two men Friday, June 19, 40-year-old Scalzo was stabbed to death near his apartment on the 800 block of Crescent Street.

Michael Delaney, 45, 720 Crescent St., Wheaton, was arrested and charged Sunday, June 21 with first-degree murder.

The stabbing happened before 8:30 p.m. when Delaney began fighting with another man. Scalzo stepped in, trying to calm the situation down, said Wheaton Police Chief Mark Field.

“Scalzo was actually trying to be the peacemaker,” he said.

The stabbing took place in the parking lot of 720 Crescent St., and the murder weapon was found nearby, police said. Scalzo was stabbed six times during the attack, according to a forensics autopsy.

He was taken to Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield where he was pronounced dead during surgery at 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

Nine witnesses were identified and interviewed at the scene, and at least some of them identified Delaney as the offender, according to Wheaton police reports.

A week before his death, Scalzo showed empathy after an abandoned newborn baby was found just a few steps from his home in the early morning hours of June 12. He stood outside talking to neighbors and reporters, saying that he had seen the baby carried from the grassy area by paramedics to a waiting ambulance.

The baby was found near a five-car garage, part of which Scalzo owned. A week later, his wounded body would be found near that same garage.

Scalzo ran a business of fixing motorcycles, but on June 12 his part of the garage was inaccessible because of police tape.

“I’ll have to call myself to say I can’t work today,” Scalzo told the Wheaton Leader shortly after the baby was found.

But his main focus was on the baby that had been left. He wondered what would happen and asked if a fund would be set up for the abandoned infant.

“If anything good can come out of this, at least the baby is going to survive,” he said.

- Staff writer Adam Rosen contributed to this story

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