Three young men were arrested Tuesday in Daytona Beach, Florida after police said they beat up a Navy veteran who asked them to stop torturing a turtle.
Gary Blough said his wife and daughter were walking near their apartment when they saw three men “smashing up a turtle”. Blough’s wife went home and told him, and he went outside to try and get the men to stop torturing the animal.
“The one had it over his head and he was smashing it down on the sidewalk,” Blough said. “I asked them to please leave it alone, just let it go to the lake.”
Blough noted that there were eight other children in the apartment complex watching and that they were all in tears.
The turtle was trying to crawl away, but was seriously bleeding and hurt. Blough told his wife to call police after the suspects refused to stop hurting the defenseless animal, according to the police report. That’s when things took an even more violent turn, and two of the men began to beat up the disabled veteran.
“They started hitting the back of my head and started punching me. I was able to fend off a little bit but I mean three of them, got the better of me,” he said. Blough told the men he did not want to fight and one responded by saying “I don’t give a f—and I don’t care if I go to jail,” WKMG ClickOrlando reported.
The men continued to beat him until neighbors chased them off. Police later arrested Johnnie Beveritt, 18, Ryan Ponder, 23 and a 16-year-old boy.
Blough suffered a broken skull, damage to his facial bones, internal bleeding and a concussion.
Sadly, police said that they tried to retrieve the turtle, but that it was dead. “The animal likely suffered greatly during the time it was being battered by the three defendants,” the officer wrote in the arrest report.
All three men are charged with two felonies – aggravated battery and animal cruelty. As for Blough, he said he has no regrets for trying to save the reptile.
“Yeah, I’d do it again and take the beating again if it meant saving that turtle,” he said.