By Elizabeth Hur
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police make an arrest in the vicious beating of a Vietnam veteran.
Lt. George McClay said, “We had a lot of help from juvenile probation, the school district police and a lot of citizens. Had a lot of phone calls and tips online, I bet I had 30-40 phone calls tonight alone and it’s probably just disgust from what happened to that poor gentleman.”
The 64-year-old veteran, who lost his eye while serving his country, was violently beaten during an attack by a group of teens on a Philadelphia street earlier this week. (see related story)
The attack happened shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday in the 5000 block of N. 5th Street in the city’s Olney section.
“These animals are specializing on our elderly people out here and a gentleman who served our country,” McClay said.
According to investigators, Edward Schaefer (pictured below) was walking to meet his wife at the bus stop when he was approached from behind. McClay said one of the suspects began the violent attack and at least one other juvenile joined in on the beating.
The suspects then fled the scene on foot after police say a Good Samaritan came to the victim’s rescue.
“He fell and that’s when I came across the street. When they saw me, that’s when they scattered,” said Donald Jones. “He was trying to talk and I said, ‘No, stay there. I got you.’”
Schaefer was rushed to Albert Einstein Medical Center with fractured skull and severe injuries to his face and hand.
“They just smashed every bone in his face,” Kate Schaefer, the victim’s wife told Eyewitness News, “I can’t tell you the words. I guess I was just happy that he was alive.”
“I’m disgusted by this whole thing,” McClay said. “I’m surprised he survived.”
McClay said “one more shot the wrong way” and this could have been a homicide investigation.
The Fraternal Order of Police offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.
By Thursday night, police said with help from the public, they identified all six individuals seen in the surveillance video they released of the incident.
Police said the juveniles range in age from 14-16 and are all from the Olney area.
Further investigation revealed there was a motive behind the initial attack.
“The complainant was on a cell phone when they walked by so it was actually a robbery. What they did after that, nobody’s been able to explain that to us yet,” McClay said.
Police say two 15-year-olds will be charged for taking part in the beating and robbery. The remaining four juveniles are considered witnesses at this time.
As of Thursday night, one 15-year-old had turned himself in. Police hope to arrest their second 15-year-old suspect on Friday.