Atlanta, GA – A 14-year-old “water boy” has been arrested after he hit an Atlanta police officer in the face last week and caused serious damage.
The incident occurred in the afternoon on July 23 near the Interstate 75 exit onto 10th Street where teenagers regularly stand in the roadway to sell bottles of cold water to passing drivers, WSB reported.
Atlanta police said an officer saw the 14-year-old suspect standing in the roadway selling water and tried to approach him.
The teen ran from the officer, WSB reported.
The officer chased the fleeing suspect and caught up with him at the Midtown MARTA station.
Police officials said that was when the 14 year old struck the officer in the face so hard that he fractured his eye socket, WSB reported.
The damage to the officer’s face, including nerve damage, was so severe that it could lead to blindness, according to Atlanta police.
“As the officer attempted (to) stop him, the juvenile struck the officer in the eye. After a brief struggle, the juvenile was taken into custody and eventually transported to the Regional Youth Detention Center on the appropriate charges,” the Atlanta Police Department told WXIA in a statement.
The 14 year old was arrested and booked on a slew of charges that included aggravated assault, aggravated battery, terroristic threats, obstruction, pedestrian in the roadway, pedestrian soliciting business, and littering.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’ office said he started working with Atlanta police on solutions to the water boy problem as soon as he took office, WSB reported.
Dickens’ summer youth employment program has provided jobs for 3,500 youth working with 100 participating businesses.
But drivers and police said it hasn’t taken care of the problem with water boys blocking traffic.
The ongoing battle between drivers, water boys, and police trying to keep public roadways safe has been going on for years and is not dissimilar from the “squeegee guy” problem in Baltimore that recently escalated to the point where a driver got out of his vehicle with a baseball bat and a 15-year-old squeegee boy fatally shot him.
Baltimore police said that 48-year-old Timothy Reynolds was driving through the intersection of Light and East Conway streets at about 4:30 p.m. on July 7 when a man with a squeegee approached his vehicle, WTTG reported.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said a confrontation erupted between the two and then Reynolds drove through the intersection and parked his vehicle, The Washington Post reported.
Commissioner Harrison said Reynolds, a married father of three children, got out of his car with a baseball bat and confronted the squeegee man.
“He swung the bat at one or more of those squeegee workers,” the commissioner initially told reporters at a press briefing after the incident.
“In return, one of the squeegee workers pulled out a gun and fired, striking this male victim,” he said.
But the dashcam video filmed by a witness who was at the intersection when the scene erupted showed Reynolds was walking away from the intersection when three squeegee workers followed him and attacked, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Another car briefly obstructed the view as the squeegee boys surrounded Reynolds and then Reynolds can be seen chasing the boys with his bat raised, according to The Baltimore Banner, the first publication to report the existence of the dashcam video.
Dashcam video showed that at the same time Reynolds went to swing his bat at one of the squeegee workers, another one threw a rock at the man’s head.
The rock hit Reynolds in the head and bounced off, The Baltimore Sun reported.
A police report said Reynolds “stumbles after being hit in the head with the rock and appears to become disoriented,” The Baltimore Banner reported.
That was when Reynolds turned around and a third squeegee worker began shooting at him.
Video showed that Reynolds began to fall to the ground after the first shot hit him, but the gunman continued shooting as he walked away and shot him four more times, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Commissioner Harrison said police don’t know whether Reynolds actually struck anyone with his bat, The Washington Post reported.
Reynolds was transported to a hospital with multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead.
Police said the group of squeegee workers fled the scene, The Washington Post reported.
Officer arrested a 15-year-old suspect at about 6:35 a.m. on Thursday in Essex, CBS News reported.
Detectives interviewed the teen and his father on July 14 before he was taken into custody and booked into the Baltimore City intake facility.
The 15 year old is charged as an adult with the first-degree murder of Reynolds, CBS News reported.