Kansas: Vicious attack on autistic man at Starbucks

A 22-year-old man, who is described as having autism, was assaulted and injured on January 4 in Lawrence, Kansas. Standing outside of a local Starbucks café, A.J. Alexander said that the perpetrator approached him in downtown Lawrence and struck him in the head, leaving a visible bruise on his left eye. See video here.

Following the vicious attack, witnesses at the coffee house told the victim’s father, Tom Alexander, that the assailant “came out of nowhere” and struck the hapless youth. Tom Alexander added that AJ is incapable of defending himself and that there was no reason why he should be attacked. AJ said that he was listening to music at the time when he was punched in the head.

The Alexander family came from California approximately twenty years ago. At that time, AJ was apparently unable to speak because of his condition, but with the help of the local school is now communicative. He holds a job and lives with his parents. . "AJ could have been at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Tom Alexander. "But if he was singled out because he was acting like AJ, that's a pretty bad thing." AJ says that despite the assault, “I’ll be okay.”

After the attack, AJ’s assailant fled the scene. The alleged perpetrator has been described as a Caucasian, wearing a hat and dark trousers, as well as a shirt and jacket emblazoned with the emblem of the University of Kansas (KU).  Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers in Kansas at 785-843-8477.

Lawrence, Kansas, is home to the University of Kansas, as well as Haskell Indian Nations University. 

In a similar vicious assault, a 20-year-old vocational student was viciously beaten this week in Circleville OH. In what the local school district described as an “altercation”, Braxton DeVault was beaten while he waited for a bus to take him to the Pickaway Ross Vocational School in the south-central Ohio town. Braxton, like AJ Alexander, suffers with autism as well as epilepsy. He blacked out following the attack, and woke up later with blood streaming down his head.  In that case, the school district says that the culprit has been punished. However, Braxton’s mother is seeking further redress. She wants  the alleged assailant to be expelled.
 



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

Filed under kansas, crime, autism, family, North America

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