Mitchell: Gary woman, 90, still shaken three weeks after attack

SHARE Mitchell: Gary woman, 90, still shaken three weeks after attack

Beatrice Patterson, 90, of Gary, talks about being dragged from her home by an attacker in August. | Mary Mitchell/Sun-Times

Follow @MaryMitchellCSTGary police are still looking for the low-down criminal who attacked Beatrice Patterson three weeks ago.

The 90-year-old, legally blind woman was beaten by an assailant that burst through the front screen door and dragged the elderly woman into the street. A group of young men who heard the ruckus chased the man off.

I visited Patterson on Monday afternoon. She lives in a depressed section of Gary overrun by unkempt yards and abandoned houses.

The 90-year-old was still shaken up by her ordeal.

“My knees got scarred up and scraped up, and this breast is larger than this one over here because this is where I got [hit],” she said.

“I was sitting in the chair. I told my other grandson when you leave off the porch, let me know because I locks my door so won’t nobody come in on me,” Patterson told me.

“I was in the chair, in the house, and that guy jumped through the door and I went over the side of the chair. My head hit the floor — bam, bloom bam!” Patterson said

“He was trying to get me to that empty house right over there,” she said, pointing in the direction of an abandoned house next door. “I was hollering: ‘Oh God. Help me Lord. Help me. I don’t have no money.’”

“He had a brick in his hand and looked like he was about to come down with the brick and something said: ‘Put it down.’ It wasn’t too loud and it wasn’t too low, and he put it down,” she said.

Patterson said she thought it was the voice of one of the guys from across the street that scared the man off, but they said it wasn’t them.


Follow @MaryMitchellCSTA neighbor helped clean the mud off Patterson. Gary police haven’t arrested anyone. Patterson says police are close to identifying a suspect. Gary police didn’t respond to questions Monday.

As discouraging as it is to see young men sitting around idle on porches in the middle of the day, this terrible incident could have turned out a lot worse if those young men hadn’t been present.

It used to be attacks on old people were mostly snatch and grabs. But a string of assaults on seniors show that young criminals are as armed and are as dangerous as seasoned hoodlums.

Last week, two young men on bicycles accosted 71-year-old Frederico Laguardia while he was watering his lawn in the Marquette Park neighborhood. The shooter demanded the senior’s wallet and pulled the trigger when Laguardia refused. Activists are offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

The crime shocked a community that recently celebrated its diversity and heaped more shame on a city that has become most associated with urban violence.

Several of the recent victims fatally shot in Chicago have been elderly men who couldn’t have possibly been mistaken for gang rivals.

Living to be 70, 80 or 90 years old is supposed to be a blessing.

But aging well means being able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, like sitting on your front porch without worrying that some trigger-happy young person is going to spray the street with bullets.

Police alone can’t stop these assaults.

We need fathers taking control of their homes and their children.

We need older brothers setting better examples for their younger siblings.

We need more neighbors like the young men who came to Patterson’s rescue.

This is not a wish list.

This is a survival list.

Tweets by @MaryMitchellCST

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