A disabled Florida veteran was severely beaten after he asked three young men to stop torturing a turtle, police said.
Garry Blough, 45, was attacked outside his Daytona Beach apartment when he approached two men and a teenager who were smashing and kicking a freshwater turtle, according to a police report.
The Persian Gulf War vet said he saw one of the men lift the turtle over his head and slam it to the ground.
He asked them to stop, and told his wife to call 911, the report said. That’s when the trio jumped him, punching him repeatedly, knocking him to the ground and kicking him in the head, chest and legs, police said. Blough, who has war injuries to his leg, uses a walker, he told officers.
The three fled, but were later arrested by Daytona Beach Police officers and charged with aggravated battery and animal cruelty, authorities said.
The adults were identified as Ryan Ponder, 23, and Johnnie Beveritt, 18. A 16-year-old was also charged with the same counts.
The adults were being held in lieu of $15,000 bail each at the Volusia County Jail. The teen was being held at a juvenile detention center. They have not entered pleas.
Blough suffered broken facial bones, a skull fracture and a severely injured eye that will require surgery, authorities said.
"Don't hit a woman, a child or an animal in front of me," Blough said. "I won't stand for it."
The bloodied turtle made it to a nearby pond, where it sank to the bottom and died, the police report said.
Blough’s wife, Jennifer, has established a GoFundMe account to help with medical costs.
"He has 16 pieces of metal in him from the war in 1991," she wrote on the page. "Please help my family."