Oak Harbor police have identified five juveniles who participated in a “cowardly attack” June 29 that left the victim with serious injuries, according to a statement from the police department.
Officers arrested three of the teenagers at Oak Harbor High School Sept. 22 on suspicion of robbery in the second degree, assault in the second degree, theft in the second degree and criminal conspiracy.
According to the department, the victim — a young adult — told police that a girl had messaged him to meet at Fort Nugent Park. When he arrived, however, five kids “jumped him” and began punching and kicking him without provocation. The attackers took his cell phone and another item during the assault, which turns the assault into a robbery.
The victim went to the hospital and was treated for a dislocated shoulder, a head laceration and several contusions.
Oak Harbor detectives have been investigating the case since it occurred, though Chief Kevin Dresker said they’ve been hampered by a new state law that requires juveniles to be given access to an attorney before they can waive their rights and speak with police. Attorneys usually tell their clients not to speak with police. Nevertheless, detectives were able to gain probable identifications of several subjects.
A break in the assault came when detectives served a search warrant in a homicide case and came across a video of the assault on a cell phone. The 15-year-old boy who is considered “a person of interest” in the homicide is also a suspect in the robbery, according to police.
“In the video, the victim is seen attempting to greet and shake the hand of a male who then ‘sucker punched’ the victim without warning,” the police statement on the case states. “Immediately, all five subjects then brazenly and without warning attack this lone victim and spend an entire minute punching, kicking, and throwing the victim down, and striking and kicking him multiple times while at least three others watch, including the person taking the video and the girl who initially lured the victim to this location.”
The suspects grabbed the victim’s cell phone and fled the area.
Detectives were able to identify all five of the attackers in the video since officers recognized them from previous contacts. All five suspects are from 15 to 17 years old. Officers have probable cause for the other two suspects and are looking for them, according to the police. In addition, the girl who allegedly lured the man to the park could face charges.