Attacks on the elderly rise in Memphis - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Attacks on the elderly rise in Memphis

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One man says his 78-year-old father still clings to life after he was beaten and left for dead in a Mid-South park. One man says his 78-year-old father still clings to life after he was beaten and left for dead in a Mid-South park.
The attacks on elderly continue to rise in Memphis. The attacks on elderly continue to rise in Memphis.
For Hurley Jr.'s father, self-defense tips came too late. Police still do not have a suspect in his case. For Hurley Jr.'s father, self-defense tips came too late. Police still do not have a suspect in his case.

(WMC-TV) - Attacks on the elderly continue to rise in Memphis. A report on victims 65 and older reveals offenses from murder to forcible rape increased nearly 5 percent in one year's time.

Criminals are showing no mercy when it comes to older victims. One man says his 78-year-old father is still clinging to life after he was beaten and left for dead in a Mid-South park.

"Some people were walking in the park and discovered my father in bad shape," said Johnny Hurley Jr., whose father was found unconscious in the park.

Medical crews rushed Hurley Senior to The MED, where he has been in intensive care since the attack. Hurley said his parents have lived across the street from the park since the 70s.

"It makes you want to hurt someone, you know, take revenge. That's what it makes you want to do, you know, 'cause it's senseless," said Hurley Jr. "It's got to be a heartless person, evil person to do something like that. Every other week you're hearing about an attack on an elder person or somebody.""

Johnny Hurley Senior's neighbors believe he was attacked by gang members who frequent the park. Memphis police are looking into those allegations.

Records from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation show violent crimes against people age 65 and older up over a three year period in Shelby County. In 2010, 4,602 crimes were committed against seniors. That number increased the next year to 4,691 crimes and increased even more in 2012.

Safety expert Marti Miller teaches self-defense for active seniors. She offers the following tips for protection:

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Criminals are drawn to seniors who seem puzzled or confused
  • Stay in groups, especially when walking through a neighborhood or park
  • If you are attacked then give the attacker what he or she wants and get away

Seniors who walk with canes or umbrellas can use them as weapons. Experts say force should be used on the attacker's legs not their upper bodies. Miller says a twisting motion could mean freedom if someone grabs you.

"If he pulls a gun on you whatever it is he wants you give it to him. You're not going to be able to act like they do in the movies run and disassemble that gun before anything happens we are not super people," said Miller.

Miller also advises to not wear fanny packs but do carry a cell phone or medical alarm with a 911 connection. Seniors can hit that at the first sign of trouble.

For Hurley Jr.'s father, self-defense tips came too late. Police still do not have a suspect in his case.

"What I'm going to do is pray for vengeance through almighty God," said Hurley Jr.

Safety expert encourages seniors to learn the Up-Down Method, in which they take in how the perpetrator looks and what he or she is wearing within seconds of the encounter. That way the victim can identify them later.

If you know anything about the attack in Glenview Park on October 27 then contact Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

Look through an interactive timeline here of several stories told from victims of targeted attacks in Memphis over the last year.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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