Video captures sucker punch at bus station
Police hope surveillance video of a young, skipping attacker sucker punching a homeless man March 9 at a downtown Medford bus station will solve a case that has disturbed the community.
The 19-second Rogue Valley Transportation District video shows the 5:36 p.m. attack that fractured the right cheekbone of the 54-year-old transient, then the puncher's seeming celebration before fleeing on foot.
"You can see he was clearly targeted, but we don't know why," Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said Monday. "We don't know who (the attacker) is, but he needs to be identified and arrested."
Budreau said he posted the video to the department's Facebook page Monday morning and it eclipsed 7,400 views in less than 90 minutes, leading to blistering condemnation of the attack by scores of viewers weighing in on social media.
"Eventually, we're going to come across someone who knows these people and also might help us out identifying a motive," Budreau said.
By Monday evening, the video had 38,000 views and nearly 850 shares on Facebook. The public has generated "some pretty solid leads" on the suspect, Budreau said, but no leads on the whereabouts of the victim.
"The bottom line is we need to talk to the victim and show him the video to see what the connection is," Budreau said.
Investigators initially hoped they could show the video to the victim, who possibly could identify his assailant and the two others with him at the time of the attack, Budreau said. Police were unable to interview the victim when he received medical treatment that day and have been unable to locate him to view the tape since then.
The attacker was described only as a younger man, possibly in his early 20s, police said.
"The video's going to be our best description," Budreau said. "It's going to speak for itself."
The video shows the attacker was one of three people who stepped out of a beige SUV parked on South Front Street across from the bus station. He then skipped across the street just as a bus was stopping.
The assailant skipped past other people to wind up and strike the victim, who was waiting to board the bus, once in the face. An RVTD employee momentarily confronted the attacker before the three fled on foot.
It wasn't until viewing the video that investigators learned that the SUV was linked to the attack, but by then it was gone, Budreau said.
The victim, whom police declined to name, is known to Medford police and he has a background in petty crimes associated with transients. His last citation in Medford since 2012 was a prohibited camping case last year, Budreau said.