A disabled Navy veteran is recovering from a brutal assault sustained after attempting to save the life of a defenseless animal.
According to reports, the heartbreaking incident took place after Navy veteran Gary Blough came up on a group of African-American males and attempted to intervene as they slammed a turtle to the ground on its shell repeatedly with all of their might.
As Blough told Fox35, he had simply asked the men to stop what they were doing and “While I had my head turned, two of them started hitting me in the back of the head and punching me.”
But the assault did not end there, the group allegedly continued to punch and kick Blough until residents of a nearby apartment complex came out to investigate the disturbance.
“Next thing I know we’re in a scuffle and I’m fighting three of them at the same time defending myself.” Blough recalled.
While the three men fled the scene initially, authorities where able to apprehend them at a nearby location. Police have now identified two of the suspects as 23-year-old Ryan Ponder and 18-year-old Johnnie Beveritt, the third has not been publicly identified but is reported to be 16 years of age.
All three suspects have been taken into police custody and charged with aggravated battery and animal cruelty.
The turtle is presumed dead.
Two men and a teenager in Florida are behind bars after they attacked a disabled Navy veteran who was trying to protect a turtle that they were torturing, according to police and the vet’s family.
He said the group began to punch and kick him, leaving him with a severely swollen eye and a bump on the back of his head.
“One of its legs was up here,” said Blough to Fox 35, pointing toward some bushes next to an apartment building. “When he got slapped . . . it shot stuff outside. So, I don’t doubt the turtle died.”
Authorities told Fox 35 that when another officer went to check on the turtle later, it was gone; they believe the turtle died and sank into the water.
Blough’s wife was horrified by what she saw.
“My husband, who is disabled, tried to save a poor animal’s life and he gets beaten up,” said Jennifer Blough.
Fox35 is reporting that Ponder and Beveritt being held at the Volusia County Jail on $15,000 bond. The unidentified teen is reportedly being held at a local juvenile detention facility.
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