Arrest of Phila. teen in brutal beating of Vietnam vet

Surveillance still image of juveniles suspected in the beating a Vietnam veteran in Philadelphia, Pa. on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012
CBS Philly

(CBS) PHILADELPHIA - An arrest has been made in the vicious beating of a Vietnam veteran, say Philadelphia police.

CBS Philly reports that 64-year-old Edward Schaefer, who had lost an eye while serving his country, was violently beaten by a group of teens on a city street on Tuesday, while waiting for his wife to get off of a bus.

"These animals are specializing on our elderly people out here and a gentleman who served our country," Lt. George McClay said.

He said authorities have had a lot of tips.

"We had a lot of help from juvenile probation, the school district police and a lot of citizens," said McClay.

The victim Schaefer was walking to meet his wife at the bus stop when he was approached from behind. McClay said one of the teen suspects began attacking him and at least one other in the group of juveniles joined in.

The suspects fled by foot, when a passerby, Donald Jones, came to Schaefer's rescue.

"He fell and that's when I came across the street. When they saw me, that's when they scattered," said Jones. "He was trying to talk and I said, 'No, stay there. I got you.'"

Schaefer was rushed to Albert Einstein Medical Center. He suffered a fractured skull and severe injuries to his face and hand.

"They just smashed every bone in his face," Kate Schaefer, the victim's wife said. "I can't tell you the words. I guess I was just happy that he was alive."

McClay said "one more shot the wrong way" and it could have been a homicide investigation.

The Fraternal Order of Police offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the attackers.

By Thursday night, police said with help from the public, they identified all six individuals seen in the surveillance video they released of the incident. 

Police said the teenagers in the attack range in age from 14-16.

Further investigation revealed a motive behind the initial attack.

"The complainant was on a cell phone when they walked by so it was actually a robbery. What they did after that, nobody's been able to explain that to us yet," McClay said.

Police say two 15-year-olds will be charged for taking part in the beating and robbery. The remaining four juveniles are considered witnesses at this time.

As of Thursday night, one 15-year-old had turned himself in. Police hoped to arrest their second 15-year-old suspect on Friday.