CLEVELAND-- Community activists are now getting involved in the search for suspects in the case of a mentally challenged man who was nearly beaten to death while walking home from work.
John Rager, 47, was viciously attacked while walking on E. 152nd St. in Cleveland on August 14th.
He was heading home from his job at a Cleveland Heights Bakery when he was jumped around 2 a.m.
Jimi-Lee Hoover, John’s sister, described it as, “Incredibly brutal especially when you’re talking about a learning disabled individual.”
Jimi-Lee said her brother and his wife are both challenged and don’t fully understand what happened, only that, John’s still hospitalized with horrific injuries.
“For someone to club him behind the knees, club him over the head,” said Jimi-Lee, “It’s just crazy that anybody would do that.”
Tuesday night, Jimi-Lee joined members of “Black on Black Inc. ” to pray for John and the city of Cleveland, because they say the crime is out of control.
“To let the people know that it doesn’t matter about race, creed or color; it’s about you, Lord,” said Art McKoy, of Black on Black Inc.
McKoy said this attack illustrates a growing problem in Cleveland. He said recently an innocent homeowner was shot while on his porch and now a mentally challenged individual’s beaten up.
At the vigil, they asked people in the community to come forward and tell police who committed these crimes.
Alfred Porter said, “Definitely ask the community to step forward and turn in whoever it is responsible for this savage attack.”
A $2,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attack.
Although it happened early in the morning, they said E. 152nsd is a busy street; someone had to see or hear something.
Alfred worries, “You don’t know who the next victim will be.”
For Alfred, it’s personal. He himself was nearly robbed in the same area twicem but each time a good Samaritan scared the perpetrators away.
Before the vigil, he went to visit with John at MetroHealth Medical Center's rehabilitation center.
“It really hurt my heart because John asked a hard question I had no answer for. He asked 'why?',” said Alfred.
A good Samaritan also called the police for John, possibly saving his life.
They hope someone will have the courage to pick up the phone and call police again.
“They need to come forward. Not have this type of savage attack happening continuously,” said Alfred.
John’s family just hopes he can recover and go back to his wife, his job at the bakery and volunteering at his church in Collinwood and in his community.
Right now, he has no short-term memory and cannot recall what happens from day to day or sometimes hour to hour.
Jimi-Lee said it’s sad because he has always been such a kind and giving person, “John would never hurt anyone. You know, he’s always kind; he’d give you the shirt off his back.”
A fund has been set up for John Rager at KeyBank and people can show their support on the “JohnNeedsJustice” Facebook page.
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