A 70-year-old man who was beaten in an unprovoked attack outside a convenience store by a teenager who authorities say celebrated the attack has died of his injuries, the Syracuse Police Department announced Wednesday.
James Gifford was seriously injured on Saturday when he was beaten by a teenager as he walked across the parking lot outside a 7-Eleven store on his daily trip to the store for doughnuts and a newspaper.
Romeo Williams, 18, of Syracuse, was arrested in the attack on a second-degree assault charge.
Williams hit Gifford in the face, knocking him unconscious, police said. Williams then entered the store and reveled in the attack before going back outside to beat and kick Gifford, police said.
“He celebrated in the store after the first assault by taking off his hat and holding it up in the air and smiling,” Sgt. Thomas Connellan said in an email. “He then went back outside and assaulted the victim again.”
Four men with Williams eventually pulled him off Gifford and they all drove away, police said. Gifford was left in critical condition.
Both the attack and Williams’ celebration were caught on video surveillance, Connellan said.
The Onondaga County District Attorney’s office will determine any additional charges against Williams, police said. Attempts to reach Williams’ lawyer were unsuccessful.