PORTLAND, Ore. – Police arrested a homeless man who they said repeatedly punched a handicapped man in a random attack along Portland’s Eastbank Esplanade Friday.
Joe Nelson told KATU News that the suspect was looking for a fight and asked him if he was looking at him.
“I walked by and I kinda laughed and I go ‘I’m handicapped I’m not going to mess with you,’” said Nelson. “I just started walking and he gets me from behind and he hits me.”
Nelson, who walks with a cane, said the attack felt like it lasted minutes, but only after the stranger stopped hitting him did anyone else offer to help him.
“He was just punching and kicking me everywhere. I’m on the ground and I’m just covering myself like a boxer. I don’t want to get hit in the face anymore.”
Nelson called 911 after the attack and gave police a description of the suspect. Officers found the suspect, 31-year-old Jon Russell Romine, on the Eastbank Esplanade near the Steel Bridge and arrested him.
Romine was taken to the Multnomah County Jail. He faces one count of assault in the fourth degree.
Nelson said he still plans to walk in the same area by the river, although he will be more cautious. He says he’s already forgiven Romine.
“It’s not going to do any good to be angry and unforgiving. That would make things worse,” Nelson said.
“Gotta look forward, not backward.”