A 59-year-old man has died from injuries suffered during an attack by two teenage brothers prompted by the man’s refusal to give them a dollar.
John Weed was attending the Great Frederick Fair in Maryland on Friday with his family when he was approached by the teens, ages 15 and 16. According to the prosecution, the 15-year-old sucker-punched Weed after he refused to give them a dollar, knocking him unconscious. Video evidence of the attack shows chaos and laughter in moments after Weed hits the pavement; one of the boys even spits on his lifeless body.
Medics flew the victim to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, 4 NBC Washington reported on Monday. Weed succumbed to his injuries on Saturday, according to the local sheriff’s office.
“I think it’s despicable, and it tells me a lot about how these young people view this person by the very fact after they had him on the ground they taunted and they spit on him,” Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said, according to 4 NBC Washington. “That to me shows hatred and disgust and despise.”
The 15-year-old teen who landed the sucker punch has been charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment. His 16-year-old brother landed a second-degree assault charge, according to authorities.
The attackers are being charged as juveniles, but prosecution might push for the teens to be tried as adults, the NBC affiliate reported.
“I’ve been doing this for close to thirty years,” said Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith. “There’s plenty of times where good people make bad decisions, but when they result in somebody’s death, you get punished.”
When Sheriff Jenkins was asked by a reporter what the “appropriate punishment” should be for the boys “given their age,” he sternly replied, “The maximum.”
“They made an adult decision by doing what they did and ended up with a man losing his life, the sister losing a brother, whatever,” he said. “They deserve the maximum penalty.”
The video of the vicious attack picked up traffic online on Sunday. However, the account that initially posted the video erroneously framed the attack as black teens defending themselves from a “white supremacist.” The video post has been viewed over 230,000 times and garnered nearly 2,000 likes.
“A white supremacist tried to racially antagonize a group of Black kids at the Frederick Fair in MD. He started calling them the N-word, and one of the kids, fearing for his life, punched the racist man. The white supremacist later died and two innocent Black victims were charged,” the caption reads.
However, as reported by The Frederick News-Post, a sheriff’s office release revealed that “investigators who responded to the scene interviewed witnesses who indicated that the attack on the man was unprovoked.”
The Great Frederick Fair released a statement following the brutal incident, emphasizing its commitment to safety and clarifying details of the fatal assault.
“The Great Frederick Fair’s number one priority is the safety and security of our guests,” the statement reads. “To dispel rumors of the events of last night, while there was an assault, there was NO shooting and NO stabbing. The team of security and law enforcement was able to respond rapidly to control and contain the incident. The investigation into this incident remains active and any further information regarding the assault will be released from the Sheriff’s Office.”