MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – An elderly man who was attacked while on the job as a parking garage attendant in South Beach is sharing his story days after his assailant was arrested and charged.
Jose Fuentes, recently released from the hospital, said he suffered serious bruises when he was beaten by a man who refused to pay his fee, Monday afternoon.
“When I protected [myself], he punched my head,” he said as he reenacted the disturbing moments from outside his home on Thursday.
The 69-year-old, who has been on the job as a parking attendant throughout Miami-Dade County for 26 years, is home recovering from the attack.
“I tried to defend [myself],” he said.
His daughter, Betsy Fuentes, showed 7News the injuries he suffered.
“He got punched in the head first,” she said.
Miami Beach Police said the suspect, identified as 22-year-old Jamie Sewell, refused to pay to leave the parking garage located near 16th Street and Drexel Avenue.
“He said, ‘I don’t wanna pay,’” said Fuentes.
The victim said he opened the gate to let him through to avoid holding up a line of cars, but the driver was taking his time.
“[I said], ‘Move right now!’” he said.
It was at that moment when, Fuentes said, Sewell got out of the car and punched him.
“That could have been it for my father,” said Betsy.
A good Samaritan who asked not to be identified said he yelled at the assailant.
“[I screamed], ‘Don’t do it!’” he said.
Some witnesses took down the suspect’s license plate.
“He sped out of the garage as quickly as he could,” said the good Samaritan.
However, Sewell’s escape was short-lived. Police officers pulled him over about 10 blocks south of the parking garage.
“The guy is tall,” said Fuentes.
“Bigger, taller, stronger, younger,” said his daughter.
He faces a charge of battery on a person 65 or older.
Fuentes said he was anxious to go back to work. A GoFundMe page has been created in his name while he’s out.
Betsy, however, said she would prefer it if he stops working in Miami Beach altogether.
“Parking garage [attendants], retailers that get assaulted. Clearly, it is a reputation that South Beach has that you can go there and do crazy [expletive] and get away with it,” she said.
Sewell has since bonded out of jail.
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