Reports of unprovoked attacks at Farmington park
Lake Julia Park used to be a place where kids could play without worry, but concerns are surfacing in the neighborhood.
Reports of unprovoked verbal abuse and physical attacks on youths between the ages of 8 and 12 by older, high-school-age boys were made to the Farmington Police Department this week.
The police department confirmed they were in the middle of investigating the reports, but since they involve juveniles declined to comment further.
Police Chief Brian Lindquist said his department is currently paying more attention to the park areas and has stepped up patrols in the Lake Julia Park area.
One mother, who wished to remain anonymous, said her son was randomly attacked, pushed the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked in the face while someone recorded the incident. He was taken to the emergency room with head injuries and given a CAT scan and tested for a concussion. Aside from headaches and a face covered with bruises and cuts, he’s OK, she said. The physical wounds will heal.
“My son had never seen the boy before,” she said of the alleged attacker. “It’s not like it’s boys fighting over it a girl. We contacted the police.”
She alleges a group of high-school age boys have been hanging around the neighborhood harassing youths in junior high and elementary school.
“It broke my heart that goes on in Farmington,” she said. “My son has been going there for years to play football and goof around. This is a park where kids should be able to play and feel safe.”
It was enough for parents to put the park off limits for now. On Tuesday afternoon after school was released, the park was empty.
Maria Holoch, who lives near the park, used to allow her 10-year-old son to play at Lake Julia because she could see him from her back porch.
“I’ve never thought sending him down there with a few friends he would be unsafe,” Holoch said. “I know there’s no guarantees in life, but this is a quiet neighborhood.”
Holoch said two months ago her son and five of his friends were verbally accosted by high school aged boys that she said matched the description of other victim reports.
“He said these kids were swearing and threatening us,” Holoch said. “And my son and his friends just ran away and got on their bikes, but they were followed. No one knew who they were. My husband and I went to look for them when they got home, but they were gone.”
They thought it was an isolated incident.
“Now I’ve heard of several attacks down there,” Holoch said. “They seem to be getting more brazen and more aggressive picking on younger kids.”
She said she hopes people will pay more attention to Lake Julia and be vigilant in reporting instances to police.
“Don’t hesitate to call, that’s just common sense,” Lindquist said. “Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t discount your gut. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”