NEW ORLEANS (CBS) – Two tourists from the Boston area were beaten and robbed in a brutal attack caught on surveillance video in New Orleans over the weekend. One of them is in critical condition.
The two men, identified as James Curran and Tim Byrne, were walking in the French Quarter heading back to their hotel just before 9 p.m. Saturday when they were knocked to the ground by two men.
The video shows Curran getting punched in the head and put in a chokehold as he was dragged to the sidewalk.
Byrne was pummeled from behind by another man and hit the ground face first, appearing to be knocked out cold. Byrne is now in a coma.
Two other men then ran up and helped rob the two victims of their phones and wallets before all the thieves ran away.
One came back briefly and lifted the second tourist up off the ground for a moment, revealing what appeared to be a pool of blood on the sidewalk.
Two other people arrived moments later to help the tourists. Police said they were there in about two minutes. There were 50 officers on patrol in the French Quarter that night, according to authorities.
One suspect, 21-year-old Dejuan Paul, was arrested Monday night and investigators say they have identified the other men involved in the attack.
According to WWL-TV, the victims were in New Orleans for the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the annual meeting of the liberal religious association.
“If you look at the video, it seems evident they were attacked from behind, they didn’t see it coming and they did not fight back. They simply were victimized,” New Orleans police commander Nick Gernon told reporters Monday.