Finally Out of Braces, 14-Year-Old Is Left in Pain Again

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 4, 2008

He had spent seven years in braces and various other orthodontic contraptions, and finally the 14-year-old McLean boy had gotten everything removed from his teeth shortly before Christmas. He was happy, his father said, and on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, the boy and two friends walked to a nearby elementary school to skateboard.

That's when, in the dusk along Westmoreland Street, he was suddenly attacked by strangers, Fairfax County police say. Two older teenagers jumped out of a car, began punching and kicking the boy and knocked out all his newly aligned front teeth. All this while two other teens recorded the assault with a video camera, police said.

"This was totally unprovoked," the boy's father said yesterday. The names of the father and son are being withheld by police to protect them from further assaults. "It was all designed to do facial disfigurement," the father added.

Police this week asked for help in identifying the assailants and offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an indictment, with no obligation for the tipster to give a name or testify. The boy's father went further, offering a $10,000 reward for someone to come forward, testify against the attackers and help win felony convictions.

Investigators do not believe that the attackers knew their victim, who was with two other 14-year-old boys. Officer Shelley Broderick said the four assailants apparently were waiting in a beige or gold Subaru Forester sport-utility vehicle in the parking lot of a church in the 2000 block of Westmoreland Street about 4 p.m.

As the three 14-year-olds headed to Haycock Elementary, two of the youths in the Forester climbed out and began kicking and punching the victim, Broderick said.

"One guy grabbed my son by the arms," the father said, "while the other guy just kept beating his teeth out. Then they started beating him further. They just went for the teeth and knocked all of his front teeth out after seven years of orthodontic treatment."

The two assailants then ran to the Forester and sped away.

The victim was driven to a nearby house, then to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment. His two friends were not physically harmed.

Police do not think the assailants specifically targeted the boy because he had just finished years of orthodontic work, Broderick said, but they won't know for sure unless they are arrested and explain themselves.

The victim has had two oral surgeries and has another scheduled for today. "He's got some pretty serious facial and jaw and teeth problems," his father said. "It's going to be a lifetime of false teeth and everything else."

The father said he augmented the standard police reward "to help the police," although he said he was seeking "credible information and testimony with a resulting conviction for aggravated malicious wounding." Police do not typically require tipsters to testify or help obtain a conviction.

"These guys were up to no good," the father said. "It was a premeditated attack."

One assailant was described as a white male in his late teens, about 6 feet tall, weighing about 180 pounds, with shoulder-length curly red hair and wearing a white T-shirt. The second attacker was also believed to be a teen, a white male about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 180 pounds, with dark brown hair and a dark-colored T-shirt and sweat pants.

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS.

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