Witnesses and victims recall string of violent group attacks in downtown Springfield

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 10:40 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Safety concerns have arisen for some after a string of violent assaults in downtown Springfield by large groups of people.

A witness got video showing one attack in a parking garage early Tuesday morning. In a video captured, a man is knocked down. He is then hit and kicked several times as 6 or 7 people close in and surround him.

The Springfield Police Department has launched an investigation.

But Tuesday morning’s incident is not the only one of its kind. There have been three reported incidents of large groups of people attacking individuals just this month.

The Springfield Police Department said it received a call just before 3:30 in the morning on Monday about a reported attack against a homeless person. Less than 24 hours later, another attack just before 2:00 in the morning on Tuesday.

The police department said the call was for another person who had been jumped by a group of 15 people outside a parking garage on Campbell.

One man witnessed the attack.

“We see this group of people right up in here, probably about 15 of them,” Jason Severance said. “Seemed like they were probably up to something. And this guy’s just long-boarding, they just attack him. Just sprinting down the parking garage and just start whaling on this guy.”

Severance and his friends left a nearby bar when they witnessed the incident. They called police, but police reports indicate the group of attackers were gone when they arrived. Severance said he dodged another attack by the group just an hour or so later.

”Started hearing commotion from the stairs, turns out to be about 10 of them,” he said. “I mean they tried to surround me. Kind of just got out of there. Literally just kicked on the moped and sped around the corner.”

These assaults come after another similar attack back on July 7. The victims that time were a couple simply walking home.

”I started getting followed by a group of men who were just kind of yelling profanities and things like that,” said Chance Allen.

The interaction quickly turned violent.

”People started coming out of the shadows, all around the park,” Bobby Hayes said. “I saw Chance on the road, with his head on the curb, and blood everywhere. I remember thinking that I hope that I haven’t lost him.”

The two initially suffered bruises and cuts all over. Their wounds are healing, but the emotion still sticks with them.

Hayes and Allen told KY3 police told them their particular assault was not the first targeted attack on LGBTQ+ members. Both said they were sad to hear other attacks by large groups of people took place this week.

”I mean, that’s something like, that’s just, that’s sick,” Allen said. “That’s so nasty. We didn’t even think it was gonna happen, you know, but Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you know, I just had to get see my doctor today for it.”

Those who witnessed and experienced any of these attacks recommend taking extra steps to always help keep yourself safe.

”Sticking in numbers, and learn some self defense,” Severance suggested.

There is no word yet whether any of these crimes are connected or if it is the same group of people. Springfield investigators are trying to gather nearby security footage from this week’s incidents. The department is also following up on leads from the attack two weeks ago.

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