The death of 17-year-old Kevin Kenneally in Long Beach, Indiana over July 4th weekend has raised tragic questions about racism and the Irish enclave where well-to do Irish Americans from Chicago vacation.
Irish and American flags fly throughout the beach community according to The New York Times, but questions about racism and murder are now front and center after Kenneally’s death, which occurred when he tried to stop a fight between a Korean American and an Irish American at a beach party.
Kenneally, an only child, was killed when James Kieffer Malecek, 19, the son of a Chicago family with a home in Long Beach, allegedly punched him. Malceek is of Korean origin.
Kenneally was trying to stop a fight between Malceek and another youth after comments were made about Malceek’s sister and her right to wear a red white and blue bandana.
Kenneally was allegedly punched by Malceek and was left lying on the beach after the incident.
South African man takes landmark case on racism in Irish courts - POLL
It was the daughter of a friend of the family who came by the party after the others had scattered, who called an ambulance a half hour later after discovering Kenneally unconscious on the beach.
Malceek turned himself in to police the next day and was charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery and battery, released on $25,000 bail. He later pleaded not guilty.
The death has shocked the Irish enclave known as “our Hamptons” for well-to-do Chicago South Side Irish.
The Times reports that “Many houses are luxurious, with soaring windows and lush landscaping, often flying Irish and American flags.”
The young man who died was extremely popular.
“It was like a mayor had died,” said Tom Burke, a longtime close friend of the Kenneallys.
Over 1,000 attended a memorial for the young man who was known as a golf rat and was extremely popularin the community.