Historic City News has reported previously on groups of teenagers roaming St George Street in downtown St Augustine’s Colonial Spanish Quarter at night; causing vandalism, painting graffiti, and engaging in violence.
St Augustine Police stepped up patrols in the area after gunshots were reported, hoodlums were accused of committing sexual battery, under-age drinking escalated and drug deals were uncovered in the Historic District. After the last round of graffiti arrests and widely publicized punishment, things appeared to have quieted down.
At about 9:00 p.m. Saturday night, a 14-year-old boy on St George Street was the victim of a felony battery after a group of juvenile delinquents stole his hat and refused to return it.
When the young teen approached the 17-year-old responsible for the theft and asked him for his hat back, even offering to buy it back, the 17-year-old reportedly “counted to three” and struck the teen; hitting him in the jaw with such force as to render him unconscious.
Police and emergency medical personnel responded. Officer Bryan Johnson arrived on scene and started to render aid to the 14-year-old while attempting to locate anyone in the crowd that may have observed the incident.
The victim of the attack was taken to Flagler Hospital in St Augustine and was found to have a broken jaw that required reconstructive surgery.
On Monday, October 8, Detective Corporal Charles Simpson interviewed witnesses who were able to point him to a possible suspect. After initially denying involvement, the suspect came to the police department with his parents and admitted striking the victim, but not taking his cap.
The juvenile attacker was processed at the St Johns County Detention Facility and, under the direction of the on-call Department of Juvenile Justice officer, released to his parents.