Homeless Man Attacked By Group Of Teens

Rex Hall Jr., Kalamazoo Gazette, June 15, 2007

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The man, a white male who resides at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, was walking in the 500 block of North Rose Street at about 6:30 p.m. when he was attacked, according to the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. Witnesses told police the man was attacked by a group of 15 black males who were all wearing white T-shirts.

Police said the males repeatedly punched and kicked the victim, causing severe injuries to his face. He was taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital and admitted for treatment of nonlife-threatening injuries.

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The Public Safety Department increased patrols near the Gospel Mission and put plainclothes officers on the street last summer following reports that homeless people were being assaulted by teens on bikes and armed with bats, bricks and rocks.

Also, from March 1 to May 22, police investigated 21 different assaults by teenagers and young adults, some of which police have said may have been perpetrated by rival groups affiliated with different sides of the city. In each case, a lone person was assaulted by groups of as few as two to as many as 11 people. In 15 of the incidents, police have said, a lone white male was attacked by a group of black males.

Some community leaders have said the rival groups are using graffiti and colors, which may indicate gang affiliation. Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home Director Frank Weichlein said last month that some Juvenile Home residents refuse to put on red T-shirts given to them as part of the home’s programming, a clear indication to him that the color represents a rival group or area of town.

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