A hometown benefit for slain Fishtown man

Mi­chael Hagan, who was murdered in So­ci­ety Hill this sum­mer, was said to be pas­sion­ate about re­vital­iz­ing Fishtown. His fam­ily still seeks justice, and hos­ted a be­ne­fit in his ho­met­own to raise funds, and per­haps find an­swers.

Fishtown’s Mi­chael Hagan was murdered this sum­mer, and his par­ents, Mi­chael Sr. and Car­ol, are still wait­ing for their son’s killer to be brought to justice.

Mi­chael Hagan, 32, who grew up in Pennsauken, N.J., lived on the 1500 block of Earl Street in Fishtown and worked as an in­form­a­tion-tech­no­logy con­sult­ant with Grant Thornton L.L.P. in Cen­ter City.

Hagan, a gradu­ate of Drexel Uni­versity, was robbed and murdered by a gun­shot wound to the chest on the 400 block of South Fourth Street in So­ci­ety Hill on Ju­ly 1.

A few hours be­fore tragedy struck, Hagan was out with friends on the Delaware River wa­ter­front, but had been sep­ar­ated from them when the fatal shoot­ing oc­curred. 

“It was such a ran­dom, evil act,” said Mi­chael Sr. “Someone to do that, in that man­ner, was just a sense­less act.”

In an ef­fort to raise money for a schol­ar­ship fund in Hagan’s name — and to pos­sibly in­crease the re­ward for in­form­a­tion lead­ing to an ar­rest — Hagan’s fam­ily and friends held a be­ne­fit on Aug. 25 at the Pin­set­ter Bar & Bowl in Pennsauken.

The event in­cluded an open bar, live mu­sic, bowl­ing and a free buf­fet with raffles and prizes for fun­drais­ing pur­poses. 

With more than 400 people in at­tend­ance, every­one had the op­por­tun­ity to re­flect and share their memor­ies about Hagan. Those who came to cel­eb­rate his life donned bright red T-shirts that read “Hagan’s Her­oes.”

“Just look­ing at the turnout here, you can see that he was loved by every­body,” said Car­ol Hagan. “He was gentle, kind and com­pas­sion­ate, and he just had a love for life.”

It was re­por­ted earli­er this sum­mer that Hagan had bought the Earl Street house years ago and was renov­at­ing it with the help of his fath­er.

“He was really pas­sion­ate about city plan­ning and re­vital­iz­ing the Fishtown neigh­bor­hood,” said Jesse Hagan, Mi­chael’s broth­er.

Jason Laco­v­ara, one of the ad­min­is­trat­ors of the fun­draiser as well as a friend and co-work­er of Hagan’s, agreed that Mi­chael was the kind of per­son who was well-liked by all.

“Mi­chael was the epi­tome of someone who lived life to the fullest. He was really easy go­ing and had a real pen­chant for keep­ing cool when things got hot.”

An avid out­doors­man, Hagan en­joyed soc­cer, bik­ing, hik­ing and snow­board­ing, yet he was most pas­sion­ate about travel. Mi­chael had gone to Europe through a school co-op pro­gram, had par­ti­cip­ated in Spain’s run­ning of the bulls and had jumped from cliffs in Wales, ac­cord­ing to his uncle, Ed Cou­ture.

About two weeks pri­or to Hagan’s murder, Cou­ture cel­eb­rated his 50th birth­day with the fam­ily. For some fam­ily mem­bers, it would be the last time they saw Hagan.

“Every­body was there,” said Cou­ture. “Not know­ing what was com­ing, every­body got to see him, and every­body left on a great note.”

Cur­rently, the re­ward for the ar­rest and con­vic­tion of Hagan’s mur­der­er is at $40,000. However, the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of the be­ne­fit money may bump it up to $50,000, ac­cord­ing to Car­ol Hagan.

The fam­ily has plans for a schol­ar­ship to be es­tab­lished in re­mem­brance of Hagan at Drexel Uni­versity, his col­lege alma ma­ter, or Pennsauken High School, his high school alma ma­ter.

After the be­ne­fit, Laco­v­ara stated that $8,500 of the money raised would go to­ward the pending schol­ar­ship.

If in­ter­ested in con­trib­ut­ing, vis­it a loc­al TD Bank in the New Jer­sey or Phil­adelphia area. Checks should be made out to the Mi­chael G. Hagan, Jr. Me­mori­al Fund.

Any tips on the murder of Hagan can be called in to the crime com­mis­sion ti­p­line at 215-546-TIPS. 

Re­port­er Domen­ick Can­delieri can be reached at dcan­delieri@gmail.com.

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