3 accused of beating man in wheelchair in North Fort Myers, filming it

Published: August 2, 2022 12:50 PM EDT
Updated: August 3, 2022 11:52 AM EDT
Jeremiah Perez, 18. Credit: Lee County Sheriff's Office

Three people were arrested Monday night after Lee County detectives say the trio filmed themselves attacking a disabled man in North Fort Myers on Saturday.

According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Jeremiah Perez, 18, along with a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl were arrested after a video circulated on Facebook showing a wheelchair-bound 55-year-old man being punched at Farmer Jack’s Market, located at 2249 Laurel Lane.

The video shows the 17-year-old punching the victim before Perez throws a garbage can at the victim. The girl who recorded the incident helped the other two suspects get away from the scene.

Perez and the 17-year-old face charges of battery on a disabled adult. The girl faces a charge of accessory after the fact.

People in the area who know the victim say he wouldn’t hurt anyone.

But since this assault, no one has seen him.

The video was hard to watch for Joseph Bocchino, who owns Brothers Car Care Center across the street from Farmer Jack’s.

Bocchino said he sees the victim, whose name is Patrick, almost every day. He is homeless, cannot walk and can’t defend himself.

“I can’t understand why they would even do that. I hate to tell you that it just doesn’t make sense,” said Bocchino. “He doesn’t fight back and you can see it in that video. He’s not that type of person.”

Doris Murphy said she is a friend of Patrick. She is angry three teenagers took advantage of someone who is helpless.

“He’s fallen on hard times right now. And me and my family help him out from time to time,” Murphy said. “That was pretty (expletive). You know, it’s not funny, but they’ll get their day. Karma is a (expletive).”

Patrick’s friends have tried to find him, but so far have not had any luck.

Correction: Due to an error in age by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the name of the 17-year-old minor was inadvertently used in this story and is not an adult. Their name and photo have since been removed.