Brother Rice teacher stabbed to death in Orland Park home

Tribune reporter

A longtime teacher at Brother Rice High School was stabbed to death in his Orland Park home, authorities said Wednesday.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide after a Wednesday autopsy.

Alan P. Filan’s body was found Tuesday by police on his kitchen floor with multiple stab wounds. On Wednesday, there were two Orland Park police vehicles at the home, which was marked off by yellow police tape.

Authorities are investigating, and “there is no information to believe that there is an immediate threat to the local community,” according to a statement issued by Orland Park police. They said there were no suspects in custody and offered few other details. Police had been called to the home previously, but Cmdr. John Keating declined to say more.

Filan taught business classes at Brother Rice for nearly 40 years and was also chair of the business department, the Chicago school said.

Police were called after Filan didn’t show up to work Tuesday. They found him in his home in a quiet Orland Park neighborhood about 10:35 a.m. that day.

Some of Filan's former students said Filan was tough but loving.

“He was definitely firm in a loving way, and I think he knew his role,” said Brian Collie, a 1987 Brother Rice graduate. “Coach Filan, he never ever backed down from anybody. I'm a big guy, and he put me in my place a ton of times.”

Filan, who lived on the 9400 block of Georgetown Square in Orland Park, coached soccer at Victor Andrew High School in Tinley Park from 1988-2010, a school spokesperson confirmed.

“He was funny; he used to call everybody 'sugar britches,'“ said Dave Dohm, a student of Filan’s in 1999. “He did run a tight ship, though, I'll say that much.”

Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki taught at Brother Rice with Filan until Zabrocki left the school in 2008.

“Al was always kind of a quiet guy,” Zabrocki said. “Sometimes he came off a little strong with the kids. But let me also say in the same breath…Al was always there for the kids 110 percent.”

Filan was full of phrases he would use to “put you down and pick you back up,” Zabrocki said.

Brother Rice President Kevin Burns said the school told students that Filan had died, but students had left for the day before Filan’s death was ruled a homicide.

Burns said he hopes Filan is remembered for his ability to teach students, not for his tough veneer.

“Deep down inside he had a great heart for the kids,” said Burns, who’s worked with the school for about six years. “He loved being here, he loved teaching, he was a very devoted employee.”

Neighbors said police were walking through back yards and had been searching the area since Filan’s body was discovered Tuesday.

Some neighbors said they rarely interacted with Filan, and that when they did, they saw the same rough exterior described by those at Brother Rice.

The Cook County Major Crimes Task Force is assisting in the investigation, police said.

Twitter: @TaylorWAnderson

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