Witnesses to a mob beating of a father and son on Phoenix Avenue near Schenectady High School Friday afternoon said the incident was sparked by teenage girls prodding teenage boys.
The Plaza, which runs along the school property, is perpendicular to Phoenix Avenue, and neighbors say violence sometimes spills out of the school and onto their streets.
Trichia Warren, who lives on Phoenix Avenue, said she witnessed the incident while in her bathroom and called police. She said at first the conflict was all talk, boys trying to impress girls by being macho, but then it escalated. She said a mob cornered the father and son on the porch of 1074 Phoenix Ave.
“I looked out my window and there were all these kids — they had bats and they had sticks and they had rocks. The father had told them to get away, and they wouldn’t get away,” she said. “The father kept saying if they want to fight they would fight one on one, but not against a gang of kids. Several of them went up there and pulled the boy down from the porch and kicked and hit him. Then the father came out and the boys whipped the father down with a garbage can and they were kicking and stomping on him; somebody comes across with a board and hit him in the head, cutting it right open.”
Phoenix Avenue resident Yusef Graham said he’s never seen anything like the beating on his street before.
“I saw about eight kids running down the street with bats, tree branches and a brick, and they were fighting this one kid and then all hell broke loose.”
Schenectady Police Detective Kevin Green said Saturday that neither father nor son was hospitalized after the incident and only one arrest had been made, of Thomas Ryan, 16, of Schenectady. Police charged him with three misdemeanors: menacing, assault and criminal possession of a weapon with intent to use.
Police said the incident began around 3 p.m., shortly after school let out. Green said a 16-year-old boy, fleeing from a group of approximately seven to 10 teenagers who had already hit him with a baseball bat, went to a family member’s house. Neighbors identified the house as 1074 Phoenix Ave.
Police said the boy, who they did not identify, called his father, who came to try to take him home. After looking at his leg, the man decided to take his son to police to report an assault.
“As they’re exiting the house, the group comes back,” Green said. “The dad gets hit in the head with a baseball bat. Then he gets jumped by this gang of kids.”
Warren said she has a teenage son who attends Schenectady High School. She said she doesn’t believe the actions were gang related.
“It’s just kids being stupid. I think if the girls weren’t there that it probably would have just died off. But because there were a bunch of girls there, you know how boys are, they don’t want to look like a chump in front of the girls,” Warren said. “They were on cellphones calling people to come watch this beating. One girl kept yelling for the boy to come down from the porch. The girls kept egging the boys on.”
Green said the teens scattered when police arrived.
A teenage boy who lives near the site of the beating, who asked not to be identified, said he saw the attack and he also believes the violence was prompted by teenage girls.
Trisha Redd, another Phoenix Avenue resident, said she was surprised when she heard about the incident.
“I always thought this was a safe neighborhood,” she said. “I’m hoping this is an isolated incident.”
Warren said the neighborhood is quiet in the winter and summer, but in the weeks leading up to the end of school, the violence starts.
“They’re like a pack of wolves; they just nip, nip, nip until something happens,” she said of the teenagers. “It happens every single year around this time. Last year there was an old man riding a bike across the street and a group of kids said something to him sarcastically about the bike being an older bike and the guy said something back, and that’s all it took. They pounced on him and beat the crap out of him.”