A couple who were beaten by a gang of teenagers in Tacoma, Wash. last week are telling their story to the local media while they wait for police to do something about it.
Justin Winter, a local self-employed tattoo artist and his fiancée Mishele Dupree say the same group of kids hangs out all the time in the same parking lot, so they’re pretty easy to get a hold of. But Tacoma Police just say they’re “investigating,” according to local TV station KIRO.
Dupree, and another woman they were walking with, escaped with only bruises and psychological scars. One teen punched Dupree in the face. The side of her face was still yellow and swollen a week later.
Winter took the worst of it. He was knocked to the ground and stomped in the head. He felt his jaw break. When he went to the hospital they found it was shattered in three spots and needed four plates screwed in to repair it.
The surgery, of which he will still need more, cost $20,000 that he doesn’t have. Nor does he have health insurance.
Winter and Dupree are pictured above.
The whole thing started about 10 days ago when Winter refuse to give a cigarette to a young teenage girl. She immediately began shouting and swearing at him.
A few nights later, when he and Dupree, with a friend, walked through a parking lot in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. The teen girl was there again. This time she was with between 15 and 20 other teens.
They surrounded the three pedestrians, forced them into a side alley and the beating began.
"The only thing I could think of was please don't let us die. I don't want to die," Dupree told KIRO TV.
"Another human life means nothing to these kids," Winter said. "That's what disturbs me most about this."
As they wait for the Tacoma cops to do anything about the teenagers, Winter has contemplated what he would do if he sees them again.
"You need to replace that coldness with warmth and love or you're not going to succeed and your life is going to be a cycle of misery," Winter says he would tell them.
SOURCES: KIRO TV, Tacoma Stories