DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - A veteran is speaking exclusively to 7News after he was sucker punched outside of a Davie restaurant.

It all happened while 25-year-old Mitch, who didn’t want his last name revealed, was on a date at the Quarterdeck, along University Drive on April 24.

The former U.S. Marines corporal returned home in 2016 and said he’s had to make some adjustments since coming back home.

“There were adjustments of being OK with large crowds and people behind you,” Mitch said. “I would be lying to tell you if I don’t look twice again behind my shoulder.”

The corporal said he confronted a group of rowdy people at the restaurant.

“There was a group of gentlemen that showed up, about 10 or so people with the majority without their shirt or shoes on,” Mitch recounted. “They were very rowdy. They were drinking, and I stupidly made the comment, ‘What are we at the beach, boys?'”

The group then started cursing Mitch out, and one even tried to approach him later.

“I told him to get away from me,” Mitch said.

Mitch and his date eventually decided to leave.

“We were exiting the front doors. I opened the door for her first,” he said. “She took several steps out. I followed her. Next thing I know, I felt a grab on my left arm, hit to the right of my face.”

The strike caused him to fall face first to the ground, leaving his chin busted open and jaw broken.

“All I remember is seeing was black, red and yellow,” Mitch said. “I do believe I was initially knocked out.”

“Right in the jaw,” Davie Police Sgt. Mark Leone said, “maybe had something in his hand. The victim is a decorated military war veteran just out trying to enjoy the evening, and then we have this other individual, who in a cowardice act, comes up from behind him without him seeing and just breaks his jaw by hitting him with something in the face — just a very cowardly act.”

Mitch needed screws to hold his jaw together and faces more surgeries.

“It would be lying to tell you if I don’t look twice again behind my shoulder,” said Mitch.

The attacker managed to successfully get away, but surveillance video could be of great help to detectives working the case.

In the video, a man could be seen wearing a shirt in one frame.

A short time later, he’s seen shirtless.

Police said they’d like to speak with that person as they believe he may have thrown the punch.

“I think I’ve earned my right to live peaceful in this country,” Mitch said. “That involves not getting my jaw broken as I’m walking my date to her car on a Wednesday night.”

If you have any information on this assault, 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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