James Gifford, 70, died after being beaten in a random attack by a teen outside a Syracuse, New York 7-Eleven store.
Gifford died yesterday at Upstate University Hospital where he had been treated since the vicious Saturday morning assault.
As we previously reported, just after 6 am in the morning of the incident, James Gifford was leaving the store with a newspaper and doughnuts and several other items he had purchased when the suspect, 18, allegedly hit him in the face for no reason. Then he proceeded to go inside the store and “celebrate” the attack according to Police Chief Frank Fowler. The suspect then exited the store and stomped the now-unconscious victim who was lying on the ground. Originally reported as a possible gang attack of some kind, it now appears that four of the Syracuse teen’s friends who witnessed the attack pulled him off the elderly man lying severely injured in the parking lot.
The Syracuse teen who beat the elderly man in front of the 7-Eleven was apparently caught on camera, and his friends have agreed to cooperate with police. In return, they will not be charged with allegedly helping the suspect in his unprovoked attack.
James Gifford was said to be a gentle, community-minded man who would never bother anyone and did not know the teen beforehand.
The suspect, identified in media accounts as Romeo Williams, was arrested the next day and charged with second degree assault and is in Onondaga County jail without bail. With the passing of James Gifford, prosecutors indicated that a grand jury will now consider homicide charges against the suspect. Investigators are gathering evidence including surveillance footage and statements from witnesses to the crime for presenting to a grand jury.
Williams apparently had been out on bail from a prior weapons charge.
[image credit: Doxvoom]