BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A late-night skate in Delaware Park took a frightening turn foran in-line skater who was jumped and brutally beaten by a group ofteens.
Life has been difficult enough for former construction workerPhil Tomassi, who has undergone five surgeries after being injuredon the job. He is able to get up on rollerblades, as a form oftherapy, but Wednesday night he was viciously attacked by fourteenagers at Delaware Park after the park had closed.
Tomassi described, "There was four trees. There was one behindeach tree, and as I passed them, one came out from behind me andthen the other three came into the street."
Tomassi told News 4 he was relentlessly beaten.
"I got pushed to the ground. He started pummeling me. He startedpunching me. I covered up. And he said, "Empty out your pockets." Igo, "I don't have any pockets. I'm rollerblading." "Give meeverything you got." I said, "I don't have anything. What do youwant?" They kept beating me up, kicking me, kicking me," retoldTomassi.
Tomassi said the four black teenagers taunted him with racialslurs and then calmly walked away when he had nothing of value togive them, but he did have a cell phone hidden in his waist bandand called 911. Police quickly responded.
Rollerblader David Hadbawnik, who lives near the park, saidrobberies and car break-ins have become a fact of life in hisneighborhood. He usually avoids the park at night after it closesat 10 p.m.
Hadbawnik said, "I've walked here at night before, and Iwouldn't recommend it to anyone. There's lights around the parkinglot, but it's pretty desolate at night."
Buffalo Police Spokesman Mike DeGeorge added, "At that time,when the park is closed, there's less people around. There's lesssecurity around, and there's just, unfortunately, a better chancethat something could happen."
Tomassi says he has suffered a setback, not only physically, butknowing that teenagers would continue to beat him when there wasnothing material to be gained.
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