Vietnam vet attacked outside VA clinic fights back against teens, gets joined by other vets in beating them


CLEVELAND, OH – A Vietnam Veteran was on his way to the Cleveland VA Center when he was attacked by two teenagers. He, and two other veterans, fought back.

The victim, in this case, Peter Hoban, said that he was going to the VA clinic just after 1 pm on November 7th and had parked in the garage.

As he walked through the garage, he noted two teenagers there that were just hanging out in the area, and he became concerned that they may be planning some type of crime. Hoban said:

“I made a mental note to myself when I get down there, I’ll tell them they have people hanging out in the garage are probably up to no good.”

Hoban, who is 72 years old, was right. Hoban said that after he had exited his car and began to walk toward the clinic and he heard the teenagers walking toward him. He said:

“Probably took about four steps and I heard his feet hit the concrete and I thought something is coming down.”

Hoban said it started with the teenager asking him for money and he told him no. That’s when he said that things took a turn for the worst, when the teenager stepped in front of him, preventing him from walking forward.

Hoban said that he pushed the teen out of the way and, out of the blue, was hit in the face by another teenager, one he had not seen prior. Hoban, remember, he is a Vietnam Vet, decided he was not going down without a fight. Hoban said:

“They were both together so I charged them, tackled them down, and started yelling for police and help.”

During the struggle, one of the teenagers was able to break free and picked up Hoban’s keys which had fallen to the ground. Hoban continued fighting the one teenager as another two veterans, who he did not know, joined in to help him. Hoban said:

“He was twisting his arm, I was holding his legs, a third gentleman came up and about that time I saw my car drive by down the ramp.”

The three veterans held the one teenager they had until the VA Police arrived on the scene to take custody of him. As they were holding the teen, one of the veterans commented to Hoban:

“You mess with a veteran, we stick together.”

After the police collected the teenager, the other two veterans left the area, and now Hoban, who already was able to get the one man’s name, wants to know the name of the second one so that he can show his appreciation for their help. He said:

“I want to buy them a drink, coffee, dinner, or whatever.”

Thankfully Hoban was not seriously injured during the attack, only appearing to have a black eye and some lacerations on his legs. But that did not stop his daughter, Anastasia Hoban Benedek, from lashing out to the two teenagers on Facebook:

“To the young punks that tried to carjack my daddy yesterday at 1:00 in the afternoon at the Cleveland, Ohio VA…little did you know you picked the WRONG guy…A Cobra Pilot Vietnam veteran is someone you do NOT MESS WITH…Why…why pick on somebody that could be your Grandpa?!”

The VA Police released a statement to News 5, and in part, said:

“Our VA Police conduct regular patrols throughout our property, but there is still an element of risk even in the safest of areas. This was an isolated incident, and our risk assessment does not call for additional security at this time…

If faced with a similar situation, experts recommend maintaining your calm, giving the offenders the property, and immediately notifying authorities. We are thankful there were no serious injuries in this instance and that the Veteran’s car will be returned to him.”

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Elderly Vietnam veteran kills home intruder who attacked his wife: ‘That guy picked the wrong house’

AIKEN, SC — An armed intruder picked the wrong house to invade and paid a heavy price when he was severely beaten by an elderly Vietnam veteran protecting his wife who was slashed by the suspect’s knife.

The suspect, Harold Runnels, 61, forced his way into the home of 82-year-old Herbert Parrish and 79-year-old Lois Parrish.



Runnels knocked on the back door of the Parrish home around 2 p.m. on Feb. 15. When Lois opened it, Runnels asked if she had seen his dog. She told FOX 57:

“I opened the door and he said he was looking for his little white chihuahua and wanted to know if I saw it. I told him, no, I didn’t.”

Lois then tried to close the door, but Runnels suddenly forced his way into the house and allegedly pulled a large knife and began attacking Lois with the back handle of it.

Lois fell to the ground and injured her left index finger. Runnels used his knife to slice her face, according to FOX 57.

Harold told the news station he feared for their lives:

“I felt, we’re gone. He’s going to kill us and take what he can take.”

Herbert then sprang into action. He grabbed a shotgun that was mounted on a wall and beat Runnels with it until he fell to the ground and became unresponsive, according to WJBF-TV.



Harold said:

“I started hitting him in the head with the barrel and I know I must have hit him at least ten times right in the face, just as hard as I could hit him.”

Capt. Eric Abdullah of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Herbert “was able to strike Mr. Runnels enough to the point where he fell to the floor still being conscious but unresponsive.”

Aiken County Coroner Darryl Ables confirmed Runnels died at the Augusta University Medical Center later Monday night from the injuries he sustained during the attack, according to FOX 57.

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