3 Teens Arrested in Dec. 24 Attack on Boy

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fairfax County police arrested three teenage boys yesterday and charged them in the unprovoked Christmas Eve beating of a 14-year-old McLean boy, whose teeth were knocked out days after he had completed seven years of orthodontic work.

The attack shocked the McLean community and sparked an outpouring of sympathy for the victim, who faces many more years in the chairs of orthodontists, oral surgeons and other medical professionals to repair the damage, his father said.

Fairfax Officer Shelley Broderick said police received a steady stream of tips on the Crime Solvers line, which led them to the suspects: two McLean boys, ages 15 and 16, and a 16-year-old Falls Church area boy. The teens were picked up yesterday and charged with one count each of malicious wounding. Broderick said more charges were possible.

Broderick said investigators from the McLean district station had determined that the beating was "a completely random attack" and that the suspects did not know their victim had just completed years of dental work.

"I'm very pleased to learn of the progress in this case," the victim's father said last night upon hearing of the arrests. He said that his son needs dental implants, jaw surgeries and additional work after he stops growing.

The names of the father and son are being withheld by police to protect them from further assaults. Officers are looking for a fourth suspect.

The names of those arrested were not released because they are juveniles. Their identities would become public record if Fairfax prosecutors seek to have them tried as adults in Circuit Court, where they could face prison time. Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh did not return a call late yesterday to determine whether he had made a decision.

The victim and two other 14-year-olds were walking along Westmoreland Street near Falls Church about 4 p.m. Dec. 24. They were going to Haycock Elementary School to do some skateboarding, the victim's father said. Two boys climbed out of a sport-utility vehicle in a church parking lot and began kicking and punching the victim, his father said.

One attacker held the victim while another "just went for the teeth and knocked all of his front teeth out after seven years of orthodontic treatment," the father said. His son's braces had just been removed.

The two boys with the victim watched in horror but were not touched, police said. They said they noticed two other youths in the SUV who were apparently videotaping the beating. The victim's father said his son and his friends did not recognize any of the attackers.

Broderick said it had not been determined whether the people in the car taped the beating or whether a tape existed.

The boy's father said of his son, "It seems to me he's accepting it and going on with his life." He said that the community's "outrage has been unbelievable" and that the support has been tremendous.

"The phone just keeps ringing. We've got well-wishers bringing food; we've got a lifetime supply of ice cream gift certificates. People are really alarmed by this."

© 2008 The Washington Post Company