ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St. Petersburg police are searching for a man who attacked a 67-year-old victim. The victim was using a walker.
On Friday, Sept. 2, the victim walked toward the Walmart at 201 34th St. North in St. Petersburg. Around 1:04 p.m. a younger man approached the victim and asked what time it was, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.
“The younger man then put the elderly man in a choke hold, threw the elderly man to the ground and began punching him,” police said. “The younger man also used the elderly man’s walker to proceed to beat the elderly man.”
Police said the assailant took the victim’s wallet and cash, in addition to other personal items. The suspect fled in a blue Dodge Durango. Witnesses told police the vehicle’s license plate may have started with “GKA.”
News Channel 8 spoke with the victim, 67-year-old Jeffery Hardeman, of St. Petersburg. He is banged up, bruised and in a whole lot of fear.
“He got on top of me, grabbed me around the neck, and just started hitting and hitting and hitting,” Hardeman said. “And then he finally gets me to the ground and he takes my walker and he starts hitting me with the walker.”
Despite all that has happened, Hardeman is counting his blessings. “The guy on the cross,” he said, clutching the cross around his neck. “He was looking out for me. The Lord was looking out for me.”
The attack left seasoned police officers scratching their heads. “My first thoughts is, ‘Why are you attacking an elderly man with a walker?’” St. Petersburg Police Department Spokesperson Rick Shaw said. “Get a job.”
Some of the Walmart’s shoppers told News Channel 8 it’s not the safest place. “I come during the day,” Joan Stapleton said. “I don’t come at night.”
Shopper Leon Burney wasn’t surprised. “It just shows what we’re coming to today,” Burney said.
The suspect is described as a black man between 29 and 35 years old. He’s between 6’ and 6’2″ and weighs between 190 and 210 pounds. He was wearing dark clothing at the time of the attack.
If you have information on the suspect or incident, call the St. Petersburg Police Department at (727) 893-7780.