Man accused of beating 74-year-old in Bridgeport over lack of mask
A Bridgeport man is accused of an assault that sent a 74-year-old man to the hospital with a brain bleed - and not following COVID-19 guidelines could've been at the center of what happened, police say.
Police say a mask, or lack of one, may be behind the beating back in the fall. They say on Sept. 2 at Stop & Shop, the victim went to return bottles and cans when he was confronted by a man, now known to be Verrol Clarke, for not wearing a face mask.
Clarke's arrest warrant says surveillance footage shows Clarke throw the victim's bags out of the area.
"So the victim left, met with his daughter, got a mask, went back to the bottle return area and then for some unknown reason - appears unprovoked - Mr. Clarke struck the victim in the head with his fist," Capt. Brian Fitzgerald says.
Police say Clarke knocked the victim down and kicked him in the head. The victim spent multiple days at St. Vincent's Medical Center with a brain bleed.
"He did have some pretty significant injuries to his head that caused speech problems and some memory loss," Fitzgerald says.
Police released surveillance images and say that led them to identify Clarke.
"We appreciate the public’s assistance. We had a lot of outreach from people in the public who came forward," Fitzgerald says.
He says Clarke lives on the streets, so it took some time to find him. He was recently spotted by a patrol officer and charged with assault on an elderly person and reckless endangerment.
"It’s one of those crimes that shocks the public because (a) why it happened over a minor dispute; I don’t think it was a dispute - over wearing a mask, and the age of the victim involved," Fitzgerald says.
Clarke went before a judge for the first time Monday and is now being held on $100,000 bond.