- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Three suspects were arrested in Florida Tuesday after attacking a disabled Navy veteran who tried to stop them from torturing a turtle, police said.

Gary Blough, a resident of Wedgewood Apartments in Daytona Beach, said he approached the suspects as they were slamming a turtle down on its shell near a pond inside the apartment complex. He said he tried helping the turtle back to the pond when he was attacked from behind, a local Fox News affiliate reported.

“He had the turtle like this, slamming it down,” Mr. Blough told the station. “Somebody has cleaned up the side walk now. It was covered in blood.”

“While I had my head turned, two of them started hitting me in the back of the head and punching me,” he said. “Next thing I know we’re in a scuffle, and I’m fighting three of them at the same time defending myself.”

Mr. Blough said the three suspects knocked him on the ground and punched and kicked him repeatedly. The suspects continued to beat him until neighbors came out and the suspects ran away, a local CBS News affiliate reported.

Mr. Blough, who told officers that he was seriously injured in the Persian Gulf War, suffered broken skull and facial bones, internal bleeding and a concussion as a result of the attack, CBS reported.

Daytona Beach police arrested Johnnie Beveritt, 18, Ryan Ponder, 23, and a 16-year-old boy in connection with the beating of Mr. Blough. All three are charged with aggravated battery and animal cruelty.

As for the turtle, police officers found the reptile floating in the pond, dead in a cloud of its own blood.

“The animal likely suffered greatly during the time it was being battered by the three defendants,” an officer wrote in the arrest report, CBS reported.

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