Recovery begins for teen victim of beating
By Elise Franco
The victim of a Sept. 27 beating is in the beginning stages of recovery after brain surgery.
The 15-year-old Austintown teen has been in the hospital since the day of the attack, when he was hit in the head with a baseball bat.
Derek Etto, 16, of South Edgehill Avenue, was charged Sept. 30 with felonious assault and is in the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center, said Austintown Detective Sgt. Ray Holmes.
The assault occurred about 3:30 p.m. after the victim and about 10 other teens showed up at Etto’s home, according to a police report. Etto told police immediately following the incident that he and the victim had previously exchanged words, and the victim made threats to harm him.
He told police the victim punched him in the head and pulled out a knife, but Holmes said no knife was found, and none of the witnesses saw one.
At that point someone threw Etto the baseball bat and the victim was hit twice in the head, according to the report.
Holmes said the investigation continues.
The victim, whose name hasn’t been released by police, underwent surgery on his brain Wednesday in St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown, Holmes said.
He said he spoke with the teen’s mother Thursday, who said her son was doing OK following the surgery.
“He’s in some pain,” Holmes said. “He’ll be transferred to the Cleveland Clinic [today] . ... He’s conscious.”
During the boy’s first few days in the hospital he was unresponsive, Holmes said. He said he’s fielded several calls from concerned parents asking why Etto was allowed in school following the beating.
Vince Colaluca, Austintown superintendent, responded to the incident Thursday.
“We had no jurisdiction over it,” he said. “It didn’t happen at school, and it didn’t even spill over into school.”
Colaluca said counselors were made available to students close with the victim or Etto.
“We have already done some things with their friends and brought in counselors to head off any anger or retaliation,” he said.