An 82-year-old man was forced to spend his Thanksgiving in the hospital after he was attacked by a gang on dirt bikes and ATVs while he was out picking up a turkey in Boston.
Preparation for the upcoming family holiday was well underway for Richard Bell when the violent incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18. According to a press release from the Massachusetts State Police, his 1996 Buick Century was suddenly surrounded that night by 30 to 40 people riding off-road motorcycles and ATVS who started hurling objects at and kicking his vehicle as he made his way through a Fenway neighborhood, near Bowker Overpass.
The group then forced him up onto the curb along the right-hand side of the road before “several of them began smashing the windows” of his vehicle, the release said. Bell was initially able to escape and started making his way toward a police station — but the gang again caught up with him and and began “kicking and striking the victim’s vehicle,” according to the release.
Still, Bell kept driving, and at one point managed to lower his window and ask another nearby motorist to call 911.
“While the victim’s car window was down, one of the riders, a male, approached him on foot and began punching the victim through the open window,” state police said.
“At the same time, other riders continued to kick the victim’s car. One of the suspects threw a piece of pipe through the car’s rear window; another threw a large rock through one of the car windows.”
He eventually managed to reach a convenience store, where he was met by Boston EMS and transported to the hospital.
His granddaughter on Wednesday confirmed to WBZ-TV that he would be stuck in the hospital for the holiday and getting treatment for serious injuries.
“He recently went under a pretty serious heart surgery and one punch to the heart could have landed him in a casket instead of a hospital bed, and so that’s really upsetting to think about,” she said.
She also expressed her concern for his future safety, noting that he was only out running errands when the violence unfolded.
“He was going to pick up a turkey. That’s all he was doing. A simple errand at 7:30 at night,” the victim’s daughter told WCVB. “You wouldn’t think that it would be a dangerous time for someone to be out.”
“He wasn’t doing anything wrong. He’s simply traveling somewhere and then he gets attacked, and it’s heartbreaking for us to know that it’s not safe for our 82-year-old father to be out by himself,” she continued. “Discouraged at humanity in general to know that someone — or more than someone — can get together and beat on a defenseless elderly man.”
Authorities this week have renewed their call for people to come forward with any information in the case. They’ve asked that “anyone who may have captured cell phone footage of the group or the incident, or who called 911 to report the incident, to call us as well,” state police said. “Anyone who has any such information, photos or footage or who called 911 that night is asked to call the State Police Detective Unit for Suffolk County at 617-727-8817.”