75-year-old war vet attacked in Deerfield Beach park bathroom

DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A salesman taking a bathroom break passed out after someone put him in a choke hold, and he now wants those responsible caught.

The war veteran said he was using the bathroom at Johnnie McKeithen Park when he was attacked by three men, Tuesday afternoon.

The 75-year-old victim, who wanted to be identified as Mr. Bert, said he keeps replaying the ordeal over and over again in his head. “And I said, ‘God, is this the way I’m gonna go? On the bathroom floor?’” he said.

He said that he thought he was going to die. “Thrown down to the ground like a toy,” Bert said. “It happened so quickly.”

Bert told 7News that he was on his way to an appointment in Deerfield Beach when he stopped to use the restroom along Northwest First Terrace and Fifth Street.

He said he noticed a tall man outside as he entered the restroom, but didn’t think anything of it until he realized something was wrong.

“Three guys in there, and something was wrong because as soon as I washed my hands, the tall guy had his foot in the front door,” Bert said. “He was looking out. It was a lookout. I knew I was in trouble.”

According to the victim, one of the men blocked the front door as the attacker made his move. “He says, ‘Is it all right if I take your wallet?’” Bert said. “What am I gonna say?”

Before Bert could say anything, the man attacked him. “[I was] thrown down to the ground like a toy,” said Bert.

“He grabbed me so tight. He was like a football player,” he said. “I could feel. If you had 200 pounds pressure pulling your throat and stopping you to breathe, you’re going to have a problem for a while.”

That’s when Bert said he blacked out for nearly 10 minutes and when he woke up, the men were gone, his glasses were broken and he had bruises on his body.

They got away with his wallet and his iPhone 7.

The elderly man managed to get to a house nearby and call 911.

He showed the press a picture of him in the hospital for his injuries. Thankfully the CAT scans and X-rays came back fine, but Bert said what happened to him isn’t OK. “I’m not fine because I’m having flashbacks,” he said. “I felt that it was the end.”

Bert’s thankful to have survived and said he thought the situation would turn deadly.

“I said, ‘God, is this the way I’m going to go? In a bathroom floor?'” he said.

He’s hoping someone will turn the trio in to police. If you have any information on this attack, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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