Attack in Cedar Rapids leaves teen with broken jaw
Victim’s mother says the attack was unprovoked
One boy had his jaw broken and another had teeth knocked out in what has been described as a random assault Tuesday in Cedar Rapids.
Police are investigating the incident, which was reported around 1 p.m. in front of 368 20th St. SE, but no arrests have been made. Parents of the four teenage boys, who they say were “jumped,” are furious about the incident, which happened after the first day of school.
Stephenie Meek, 40, of Cedar Rapids, said her 14-year-old son Christian was walking home from Washington High School with three friends when someone shouted at them to “Get off my block.” She said the boys did not respond and kept walking. That’s when four boys or young men came off a porch [Hah!], started following the group, and then one hit her son from behind.
“He hit Christian from behind, broke his jaw and severed his nerve,” Meek said. “He may lose feeling permanently from his jaw to his lower lip.”
Meek said her son was out of surgery by Wednesday night and will spend the night at the hospital before he is expected to be released on Thursday.
Another boy, a 15-year-old, had his two front teeth knocked out. A 16-year-old boy had a cut on his face and a black eye. A fourth boy was not injured.
Charity Flood, 39, who lives next door, said she witnessed the last 30 seconds of the assault. She said a bigger boy, was “beating (one boy) relentlessly into the ground.” She said the assailants ran off to the north on 20th Street SE, and she called 911 at the boys’ request.
“You could tell his teeth were gone,” Flood said. “Blood was just streaming out.” Flood said she has lived here for 17 years and has never seen this happen.
A neighbor from across the street brought out ice and searched in the grass for the 15-year-old’s teeth, neighbors said. Ambulances took two victims to St. Luke’s Hospital, where doctors performed surgery on Meek on Wednesday. Meek said her son can only ingest food through a straw and must keep his jaw closed for the next two weeks.
Stephenie Meek said she is unsure if the attack was racially motivated [who said the attackers were a different race? Oh, you just sort of did. Way to give the game away, Stephanie]. Flood said her daughter, also a Washington student, has heard of a practice where older males encourage younger males into beatings before they join a group. Meek said she wondered the same thing.
“I don’t know if it’s gang-related, some sort of initiation, but it was completely unprovoked,” Meek said.
Police have not commented publicly about any possible motives for the attack. Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said investigators have some possible names of the assailants, and were working to locate them.
Meek said the 15-year-old victim had his front teeth replaced and was released from the hospital. She said her son will likely be out of school for a while post-surgery. She said her son and his friends like video games and are “harmless.”
“He’s the type of kid that, without being asked, goes out and cleans up the city, picking up trash,” Meek said.
The attack startled Flood, who said she will no longer let her daughter walk home from school. She said it’s not worth the risk.
“You hear about it in inner-city Chicago, but I never thought it would happen in my front yard,” Flood said.