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Video Shows Juvenile Attacking Senior Citizen

JUVENILE-ASSAULTS-SENIOR.JPG.jpg

By Shay Roddy

(Some parts of the video and audio have been edited by the Herald to conceal the identity of the involved juveniles.)

NORTH CAPE MAY – According to homeowners in one quiet, residential neighborhood, enough is enough, after juveniles, who they say have been terrorizing the area, were caught on video attacking a senior citizen. 

In a video obtained exclusively by the Herald, a teenage girl can be seen lunging and swinging at a much older man in the street Oct. 15. 

The man, wearing a plaid jacket in the video, is John Wells, of Sherriff Taylor Boulevard. Wells, 76, said the whole thing began on a recent Saturday night when neighbors were gathering in a cul-de-sac at the end of their block. Around 8 p.m., kids came cutting through the neighbor’s property and began cursing and yelling at the adults. He called the incident “totally random.” 

A few moments later, a teenage girl can be seen charging toward Wells, seemingly unprovoked, and flailing her arms while pushing and swinging at the man. Eventually, the girl is separated from Wellsby bystanders and tackled to the ground. Wells did not retaliate. 

He said he wascut on his face and blood dripped down his cheek from a scratch near his eye, but he refused medical attention at the scene.  

“The girl came out of nowhere, sideways, and hit me in the head. I got a little cut, but no big deal. She was going crazy punching me. I’m not punching her back cause I figure I’ll go to jail if I hit a juvenile,” Wells said in a phone interview. 

A shirtless male juvenile with a black ski mask covering part of his face can be seen in a separate video shot moments later, which was viewed by the Herald, challenging all the adults to a fight. 

“C’mon. Everyone versus me. C’mon, right now,” he is seen yelling. The Herald is not disclosing the identities of the parties involved who are under 18-years-old. 

Police were called to the scene by multiple witnesses, according to police reports obtained through records requests. In the report, the officer states they made contact with the parents of all the juveniles involved and parents came to the scene to take their kids home.  

Lower Township Police, who have jurisdiction in North Cape May, said there have not been any charges filed in the matter and no arrests have been made. Chief Kevin Lewis did not respond to a request for an interview prior to publication.   

Wells said he followed up with the department and provided them with the same video the Herald obtained, which was taken by his wife, Denise Stryjewski. Wells said he was told by police they would be bringing charges against the juveniles, and he informed them he would cooperate with the investigation.  

“Somebody’s got to stop something because it’s going to escalate into something where these kids will get hurt if they keep it up,” Wells said, adding he would testify against the girl in court. “Damn right I would.” 

According to the police report, the juveniles accused the adults of assault and told officers they only attacked the adults to defend themselves and that the adults started it. Wells said that is not true. 

“Nobody hit back. Nobody did nothing,” Wells said. He said he was not drinking and said that a couple of the adults had one or two beers but were not intoxicated.  

The only video evidence that in any way supports the juvenile’s claims shows another unidentified adult at one point pushing the teenage girl after she lunges at him in an apparent attack. The teenage girl then falls backward into a yard, though the contact from the adult appeared to be in self-defense.  

The teenage girl in the video who hits Wells has posts on social media, which were viewed by the Herald, showing boys wearing ski masks and posing with cigars and empty alcohol cases. In other posts on her accounts the girl is seen in photos and videos holding alcoholic beverages. 

Wells said he hadn’t interacted with the kids before the incident but said the girl in the video who hit him has been staying across the street and has a mother who goes to work when her daughter gets home from school. Wells said she has been having people over unsupervised and suspects they have been drinking and doing drugs.  

Neighbors have also been having problems with some of the same juveniles with verbal attacks and property destruction, according to Wells. 

He said he sympathizes with police who are having a hard time controlling drunk and disorderly juveniles after the adult use cannabis law included limitations on law enforcement’s authority over minors who are drinking or using marijuana.  

“We’ll band together if we have to,” Wells said. “We’ll stop it.” 

Especially in resort towns, homeowners have complained of brazen misbehaving youngsters who have become emboldened by the new law. 

It has led to unprecedented measures in some towns, like Avalon, where beaches and the boardwalk were closed to the public overnight to try to eliminate gathering spots for unruly kids. Meetings with top law enforcement officials and lawmakers have been held to discuss other ways to combat the problem. 

For some crimes, like assault, police do maintain the authority to charge and arrest juveniles and Wells feels this incident rises to the level where something must be done. 

He said law enforcement told him they arranged a meeting with the teenager and her mother Nov. 2. He will await the outcome of that, but said he is glad police seem to be taking this seriously.  

“We thought we were going to retire down here,” Wells said. “Maybe not if this keeps up.” 

To contact the reporter, Shay Roddy, email sroddy@cmcherald.com. 

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