U.S. News

Fear grips New England town after string of unprovoked street attacks

112920_WalthamPD_ATTACKS
Waltham Police Department via Facebook

BY: BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC NEWS

(BOSTON) — One man was out for an evening stroll when someone came up behind him and bashed him in the face with a blunt object. Another victim was taking out the trash at his apartment complex when he was ambushed, and a U.S. Postal Service carrier was badly beaten while out delivering the mail after dark.

Residents of Waltham, Massachusetts, are on edge after police said at least 10 men have been targeted by a mystery assailant in a string of unprovoked assaults that have occurred since Nov. 10.

“Waltham police are using all means necessary to bring these cases to an end as quickly as possible,” Detective Sgt. Steve McCarthy said in a statement.

McCarthy said the latest attack occurred around 8 p.m. on Friday when a culprit came up behind a man walking on a residential street, hit him in the face with a blunt weapon and ran off under the cover of darkness. As in the other cases, McCarthy said the person responsible for the serial assaults appears to be lying in wait and attacking victims by surprise.

On Saturday, police released surveillance video of an individual they described as “a suspect in the string of recent assaults around Waltham” and urged the public to contact them with any information on the person’s identity.

The video shows a man dressed in a dark hooded coat, light blue jeans and sneakers running down a street. Police did not specify when or where the video was taken.

Investigators only have a general description of the assailant, saying he appears to be a Black male, 5-foot-6- to 5-foot-10-inches tall and 160 to 180 pounds.

Police also took the unusual step of making reverse 911 calls to alert residents of the city, cautioning them to be vigilant and remain aware of their surroundings, especially after dark.

Authorities said that in all of the “random, unprovoked” attacks, the suspect has struck between 5:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. in the city 22 miles northwest of Boston.

Initially, the assailant appeared to be targeting residents of an apartment complex but has since spread out across the community of roughly 63,000 people, attacking several recent victims in the city’s downtown area, according to police.

David Cameros, one of the victims, told ABC affiliate station WCVB-TV in Boston, that he was attacked Wednesday night outside his apartment complex. He said he had just taken out his garbage and was talking on his cell phone while having a smoke when he was clobbered in the head by what he believes was a baseball bat.

Cameros said he was knocked unconscious and left with a fractured skull.

“I don’t know if it is only one or there are more attackers. The aggressor always attacks from behind,” Cameros said.

Another victim, who would only give his first name, Emerson, a mechanic, told WCVB he was targeted while out for an evening stroll also on Wednesday evening. Emerson remains in a hospital being treated for several fractures to his face and skull.

Emerson said the attacker came up behind him like a “coward” and that he didn’t have a chance to see his face.

“I did not have the opportunity to defend myself,” Emerson said Saturday, adding that he is awaiting surgery on his face.

Melissa Gallant, a friend of Emerson, said she and other residents of the city have been left rattled by the attacks.

“I know he’s beat up bad, bad, bad and he’s such a nice guy,” Gallant told WCVB of Emerson. “It’s heartbreaking. It’s not right. He helps everybody. He’s a very good man.”

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