MANATEE -- A local family is shaken after a 70-year-old grandfather was beaten in front of family and neighbors by speeders who became angry when he tried to get them to slow their car down.
James Gorman was pushing his wheelchair-bound wife down the street in the 400 block of 60th Drive West in Pride Park at about 5:30 p.m. Friday, with their granddaughter, 7, on her lap during the afternoon stroll.
"There were children all over," Gorman said a day later. "I stepped out to slow them down."
The front passenger of the car directed a few nasty words at Gorman and then punched him, he said. Trying to defend himself, the elderly man punched him back as the other backseat passenger got out of the car. The three men went on to beat him, kicking him and punching until he lost consciousness.
"They knocked me out, but when I came to, they were pulling away," Gorman said. "My wife had fell out of her wheelchair trying to come and help me."
Their granddaughter, along
with many other neighborhood children, were all crying. He scrambled to get up and helped his wife back into her chair.
Gorman was left with bruises all over his body, a torn rotator cuff, a black eye swollen shut and a footprint on his left shoulder blade. He was treated at Manatee Memorial Hospital and released.
Gorman's daughter, Janice Burkey, was inside only a couple duplexes down as the terror unfolded.
"It was absolutely terrifying," Burkey said. "They tried to drag him into the car."
Her daughter, after witnessing it all, was unable to sleep Friday night.
The Manatee County Sheriff's Office was called out to the scene of the beating and deputies arrived quickly, the family said.
"Of course we are worried about retaliation," Burkey said.
A neighbor was able to provide deputies with a partial number off the temporary tag of the car, believed to be a gray or silver four-door Oldsmobile. The three suspects are said to be males in their 20s. Two of the three had braids or dreadlocks.
The neighborhood has always had trouble with speeders, the family said. They have lived in their home 27 years.
"This has never been an exceptional neighborhood, but it had got somewhat better," Gorman said. "We have always been able to get them to slow down."
This time, he wasn't, and he doesn't understand why the incident turned violent.
"I am more worried about my grandbaby, she is still pretty shook up," Gorman said. "That bothers me more than anything, that kids had to witness that. That wasn't necessary."
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeleon1012.