WARE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Imagine this: you're out enjoying a nice day at the park when you see a large group of teenagers physically attacking another person. That is exactly what took place on Saturday afternoon at Grenville Park in Ware.
The victim was a 26-year-old autistic man who was unable to defend himself.
An eyewitness told us the victim was on the pavement when the group walked toward him and he moved to another nearby area and tried to protect himself, but was knocked down and kicked multiple times in the back.
It was a vicious attack during broad daylight at Grenville Park in Ware as a baseball team was getting ready for practice. Police and an eyewitness told Western Mass News on Monday that 26-year-old Shiloh Skerritt was pushed to the ground and kicked numerous times in the back by two juveniles who were part of a larger group of youths.
“He completely shut down,” said Shiloh’s father, Peter Skerritt.
Peter Skerrit told Western Mass News that Shiloh has autism and Type 1 diabetes, making it hard to protect himself.
“His cognitive skills are bad. He has a problem comprehending what is told to him,” Skerritt explained.
Joshua Kusnierz, a baseball coach and eyewitness to the attack, immediately moved to help out.
“I realize that this was no longer kids messing around or being kids. There was an actually serious incident happening,” Kusnierz explained.
Kusnierz told us he was about 50 yards away, but could hear the impact of the kicks on Shiloh.
“You can hear the kick at the pitcher’s mound and they were outside of the outfield,” Kusnierz added.
Shiloh now has a broken right shoulder blade and will need physical therapy. His dad told us the last 48 hours, he has seen a drastic change in his son.
“He wasn't talking at all, he didn't want to get out bed, In fact, he slept the entire day yesterday…something he hasn’t done before. He doesn't even take naps,” Peter Skerritt said.
Fearful this could happen again, Peter said Shiloh has not taken his daily walks in the park since Saturday.
“His blood glucose level has gone way up since because he is not getting any exercise,” Peter Skerritt explained.
Working quickly based on witness accounts, Ware Police arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the attack.
“I'm grateful the other juveniles that were in the area, that watched it, are coming forward and giving us statements,” said Ware Police Chief Shawn Crevier.
Police told us they can't charge the second juvenile in the attack. However, Ware Police do plan to file a report with the Department of Children and Family Services.
“We can at least get him somewhat into the system and have some type of guidelines they need to follow,” Ware Police Chief Shawn Crevier said.
Shiloh is a known member of the community and Chief Crevier was angry when he learned of the attack.
“I was disgusted and upset with the action of these two juveniles,” Chief Crevier said.
In an effort to help people on the spectrum like Shiloh, the police department has set up a database to help identify people with autism and dementia during emergency situations.
“Shiloh was one of the first individuals in that program,” Chief Crevier said.
In this case, Shiloh had a laminated card on him that helped police identify him and contact his family.