UticaJune 15, 2012
Witness recounts bloody scene after beating in Utica
By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer
Utica police are searching for three suspects following a beating and attempted murder behind a restaurant June 14.
The suspects, described as three black males, are wanted after they beat the victim, a 33-year-old Algonac man, about the head with blunt objects.
The assault took place at the T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant on the corner of Hall and Schoenherr roads at roughly 9 p.m. The victim was at the restaurant with a female acquaintance and her children.
“We were walking up to the door, and he came walking out with a woman and two kids,” said Arnold Beller, a bystander who saw the victim leaving the restaurant. “He was covered in blood like someone dumped a bucket on him.”
Beller said the victim and the woman matter-of-factly put the two children who were with them in the backseat of their car before the victim sat in the passenger seat and the woman got behind the wheel.
“She was pulling out as police showed up coming at them from different directions,” Beller said. “One pulled in behind her, and she tried to leave in a different direction, and finally (the police) boxed them in.”
Beller, noting the scene was so unbelievable that he thought it was a prank or hoax, said the victim exited the car and walked toward police before he was ordered at gunpoint to return to the car.
“I really thought someone was getting punked or something until I saw all the blood on the cement and then on the door,” Beller said. “At that point, I was like, ‘I’m not touching that.’”
The victim, whose injuries were described by police as “massive trauma to his head/skull as a result of being struck several times with a blunt object,” was transported by Utica Fire Department EMS to a local hospital, where he is currently in critical condition.
“Even at nine at night, with Target still open and some other places around there, we’re assuming there were a lot of people in the area,” Utica Police Chief David Faber said.
“We’re hoping someone saw something, and they will come forward and give us a call.”
At some point before Beller saw him, the victim left the restaurant and was met by the suspects behind the building in an area near the Dumpsters. The victim is believed to have known his attackers, and police do not think it was a random incident.
“He told his acquaintance that he was going outside to meet somebody,” Faber said, noting the victim still had all of his money, property and jewelry on his person, leaving officers to believe theft was not a motive in the attack.
“He walked around behind the building to meet someone, so we feel he knew who he was meeting.”
At this point, it is believed the suspects assaulted him before being scared of by someone exiting the restaurant and that they fled north through the parking lot on foot.
“There were three to four girls and one guy in the parking lot talking to police, and I think at least one of them saw what happened,” Beller said.
“One girl was saying that they hit him with a hammer, and another one was yelling that it was a drug deal.”
Investigation by the Utica police K-9 unit followed he suspects’ trail to the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant located just north of the T.G.I. Friday’s on Schoenherr Road. The trail ended there, though, with police believing the suspects entered a waiting vehicle and fled.
Anyone with further information on the suspects or the attack is asked to contact Utica police at (586) 731-2345 or Crimestoppers at (800) SPEAK-UP.
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