Reporting Bobby Sisk
BROCKTON (CBS) – It’s been a violent two days in Brockton. Two killings within just hours of each other brought this year’s murder total in the city to nine.
It was just before 9 p.m. Tuesday night when witnesses heard something alarming along Clinton Street. “They heard a crash. They heard a commotion, including breaking of glass and that they heard that it was a verbal confrontation,” Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz told reporters on Tuesday. “When they arrived in the parking lot they found the victim bleeding from what appeared to be massive head wounds as well as large gash in right lower arm,” he said. Within 20 minutes of the call to 911, 74-year-old Lee Harmon was dead at the hospital.
Harmon’s family says he would do anything he could to help people. An ordained minister, he was riding his bicycle to see his handicap daughter when the attack happened. “I don’t have any words. It just doesn’t make any sense,” said one of Harmon’s other daughters Bernice. He was a father of six and was married to his wife Francise for 55 years. “God gave me a good husband,” Francise said.
She is heartbroken and has no idea who would want to hurt her husband, especially in such a violent way. “It’s a difficult day. It really is difficult to see him go down. Such a good man like that go down,” she said.
It was roughly 14 hours later, when officers were called to a home on Bellevue Avenue in Brockton. There, a witness said he arrived to find a knife-wielding suspect who later stabbed a man. The witness and victim struggled with the attacker who, the district attorney said, and tried repeatedly to grab other knives. “The suspect then broke into a nearby relatives residence where he stole jewelry and a motor vehicle,” Plymouth County D.A. Timothy Cruz said.
The suspect was later spotted in Abington. That sparked a police chase. He crashed the stolen vehicle and was eventually shot. It’s not clear who pulled the trigger, however the Brockton Police Chief said no officers were yet on administrative duty. The suspect survived and will face a murder charge, but his alleged victim back in Brockton did not.
“Violence has no place in our community and the last 24 hours have made me heartsick,” said Mayor Linda Balzotti.
There have been no arrests in the murder of Lee Harmon. District Attorney Cruz said the two crimes do not appear to be connected.
Tuesday night, family and friends returned to where Harmon was attacked. They brought candles, chanted “stop the violence” and sang hymns. There’d also been a steady stream of mourners at his home. Neighbor say they’ve lost a hero. “Everybody came over here to talk to his wife,” said friend Alec Ortiz. “Right now, we’re feeling like we lost something big.”