Vicious attack prompts Dubuque family to speak out
Written by Becca Habegger, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -
A vicious attack has inspired a Dubuque family to speak out about speaking up.
The police report says two people attacked a 15-year-old male, but witnesses tell his parents there was a group of 10 to 15 others with the offenders.
Police have not identified any suspects. Both officials and the young man's parents say witnesses to crimes play a vital role, but only if they step forward.
The incident happened in the 1800 block of Rhomberg Avenue, following the Third of July fireworks. The area, annually, is packed at that time as the crowd leaves the nearby event site.
Lisa and Jesse Coulson's teenage son Jordan was walking with friends to the designated place they'd be meeting their parents. That's when, the Coulsons say, a group of young men jumped and robbed their son, whose friends had walked on ahead.
"Your heart drops because you don't know, you can't be involved," Jesse Coulson said. "You want to protect your kid. You want to tell your kid you'll be safe wherever you go and you can take care of them. That night, it was out of my control."
Coulson, a firefighter, was working that night. His wife Lisa Coulson met their son at the scene as soon as she got word of the attack.
"It was very scary and very sad to see the look on his face because you could see that he was in shock," Lisa Coulson said.
The Coulsons say the attack happened in plain view of many passersby, but a lack of information from witnesses has resulted in a lack of suspects.
"I can't believe that nobody, out of all the people around this street that night, not one person could give some idea of what they look like or what they were wearing," Lisa Coulson said.
"Sometimes just because you see a lot of people doesn't mean somebody said something," Jesse Coulson said. "Maybe you might be the one with that missing key that identifies somebody to get them off the streets from doing the same thing to others."
Police agree, saying witnesses can make the difference between an arrest and the offenders going unpunished.
"At the very least, we want them to call us immediately," Dubuque police lieutenant Scott Baxter said. "Call 911, get a good description of what the persons look like, their clothing, their direction of travel after the incident concludes, if applicable. Just take some accountability for your neighborhood, for your fellow citizens, and try and help out any way you can."
Jesse Coulson mentioned camera phones and how documenting a crime can help police find those who committed it.
Baxter called being a good witness a person's civic duty to keep his or her community safe.
Jordan Coulson has recovered from his physical injuries, which included bruising, cuts and swelling. However, his parents say the attack has taken some joy out of him and caused him to realize the world isn't as innocent as he perhaps once thought.
Anybody with information on this or other crimes can contact the Dubuque Crime Stoppers at 563-588-0714 or 800-747-0117.
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