Editor’s note: The video of the attack is below. Viewer discretion is advised.
FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. – Investigators in Fredrick County have released graphic footage showing the result of a fight that turned deadly at a Maryland fair on Friday.
Police say the altercation may have started over a single dollar bill.
The incident began when 59-year-old John Weed was approached by two teens, 15 and 16-year-old brothers, who asked Weed for a dollar, according to a report from CBS 13 Baltimore.
But when he refused to give it up, they started following him around the fairgrounds and harassed him, investigators say. At one point, Weed said something to the two teens, reportedly increasing the tension between them.
“There was some sort of dialogue that ensued after that that made it a negative situation,” said Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith.
Then, with his back turned, Weed was struck in the back of the head by the 16-year-old boy. As he was stunned, the younger brother stepped in, Smith said.
“There was a number of minutes that elapsed after that at which point in time…the younger 15-year-old came flying through, lands a deadly blow to the victim.”
Experts say that the second brutal blow was what killed Weed, sending him to the ground. The video (published below) captures the moment that Weed loses consciousness. Then the suspects appear to spit on their victim before walking away.
Lori Hawkins says that her brother’s death has changed their family’s lives forever.
“Our lives have been changed forever [due] to the unprovoked vicious attack these individuals inflicted on my brother John Weed,” Lori Hawkins said in an interview with the Carroll County Times. “He was my rock.”
She said that the family was just trying to spend the day together.
“We just wanted to spend time together as a family at the fair, but due to this horrible act of unprovoked violence my brother is now dead,” Hawkins said. “There is no excuse for what these individuals have done.”
ABC 7 reported that Weed had been found unconscious just after 5:30 p.m. Friday in the fairgrounds. Maryland State Police responded and the man was airlifted to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, though he never regained consciousness. Authorities say that the man was pronounced dead from his injuries on Saturday.
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Police arrested the two teenagers after it was determined that they had been involved in the attack. ABC 7’s report claimed that social media was used to help identify the suspects as Snapchat videos of the attack allegedly showed it in vivid detail.
BREAKING: @FredCoSheriff has charged a 15yo + 16yo boy for the random, unprovoked attack of a 59yo man at the Great Frederick Fair.
That man died today at Shock Trauma in Baltimore.
Sources say the teens (currently in juvenile custody) may have been playing the “knockout game.” pic.twitter.com/58tI0FPeT5
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) September 22, 2019
But in court on Monday, the 15-year-old suspect’s father begged a judge to let him go, saying that while he ‘feels’ for the victim’s family, the boys didn’t mean to do what they did.
“My son is not an animal,” he said. “He’s never been in trouble. He made a mistake.”
Photos from the scene showed more than 20 uniformed members of law enforcement at the fairgrounds with the teens being led away in handcuffs.
The 15-year-old suspect was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. The 16-year-old is charged with second-degree assault, but investigators say that more charges may be added to the list after the results of the medical examiner’s report are provided. Police say those charges could include manslaughter or potentially even murder.
“Both juveniles have been placed in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Services pending a hearing with a Circuit Court Judge,” a press release from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office read. “No weapons were used or mentioned in this incident.”
Statement from the family of 59yo John Weed:
"Our lives have been changed forever do to the unprovoked vicious attack these individuals inflicted on my brother John Weed. He was my rock…There is no excuse for what these individuals have done." https://t.co/H4OqCm7DsJ
— Cory Smith (@CoryNBC) September 25, 2019
The sheriff said that the video paints the picture of the boys’ true nature.
“It tells me a lot about how these young people view this person by the very fact after they had him on the ground they taunted and they spit on him,” Sheriff Jenkins said. “That to me shows hatred and disgust and despise.”
Despite what the suspects’ family says, Jenkins says the two teenagers deserve the maximum penalty.
“They made an adult decision by doing what they did, and ended up with a man losing his life,” he said.
ABC 7 reportedly visited the apartment complex where the teenage boys live. They overheard people discussing the case, saying that the charges were unfounded and that the main aggressor had simply been defending his brother.
“He was only trying to protect his brother,” a man reportedly stated. “This is ridiculous.”
The video of the attack taken via cellphone video can be seen below. Viewer discretion is strongly advised due to the graphic nature of the images.
Early reports had suggested that there had been a potential shooting or stabbing within the fairgrounds, but those rumors were quickly negated on social media.
“The Great Frederick Fair’s number one priority is the safety and security of our guests,” a Facebook post from the fair’s page read. “To dispel rumors of the events of last night, while there was an assault, there was NO shooting and NO stabbing. The team of security and law enforcement was able to respond rapidly to control and contain the incident. The investigation into this incident remains active and any further information regarding the assault will be released from the Sheriff’s Office.”
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