Attack by youths on mother and son propels cops, agencies to join forces
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
A 52-year-old Youngstown woman and her 19-year-old son thought they would have an uneventful drive home through the South Side.
But those plans changed when they were attacked and beaten by a group of juveniles.
The attack took place when the group refused to move out of the street for their passing car on Gibson Street last Friday afternoon. A 14-year-old boy kicked the car, causing damage to the driver’s side door.
The son reportedly got out of the car to inspect the damage and ask the boy why he kicked the car. He was attacked by the group of teens, thrown to the ground and repeatedly kicked and punched.
The mother got out of the car in an attempt to stop the group from beating her son, but she, too, was attacked.
The group of juveniles punched and kicked the woman repeatedly, according to a police report.
“I just decided to stand up and say this is wrong, and like nine or 10 of them came from everywhere. Then, they went after my mom,” the son said in a telephone interview with The Vindicator.
After the attack, the woman told police her head was hurting and she planned on taking her son to hospital so that they both could be checked for injuries.
Police canvassed the area shortly after the attack and arrested Suadonte Wright, 14, of Brookline Avenue, believed to have been responsible for kicking the car and being a part of the attack.
He is charged with assault and criminal damaging and was taken to the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center.
The son said the attack on him and his mother lasted only seconds, but the emotional scars are likely to last a lot longer.
“My mom is afraid to go up the same street again, so we have to take alternate routes when we travel in the area,” he said. “It’s a shame these kids are doing these things. It’s like a cancer that we just can’t seem to stop.”
Police Chief Rod Foley said the police department is going to make every effort possible to stop the “cancer” the assault victims spoke about.
Foley said the department is joining forces with the juvenile justice center, the Violent Crimes Task Force and other law-enforcement agencies to gain control over wayward youths.
He said officers have been out canvassing the area for truant juveniles and those on probation who are not in school or at home.
“We want to know where they are at and what they are doing,” he said. “We are going to start ramping it up over there.
“You want to act like fools, we are going to get out there and get you.”
Foley said the initiative targeting wayward juveniles got under way Thursday morning, and by noon, officers had made contact with several youths and confiscated three firearms.
The department also is planning curfew sweeps to make sure juveniles are abiding by the city’s 11 p.m. curfew for minors.
The son in the Gibson Street attack said his family is ready to pack up and leave a home that has been in their family for more than 50 years.