October 3, 2013 10:16:24 AM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
A mentally disabled Columbus man is in critical condition after he was severely beaten Wednesday morning.
Tamarcus Thomas suffered multiple injuries to his face including a broken nose and broken jaw, according to scanner traffic.
Columbus Police Department spokesperson Latesha Key confirmed investigators have identified and interviewed 29-year-old Charlie Owens as a possible suspect. Key said Owens had not been arrested as of this morning due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. The motive in the beating has not yet been determined, Key said.
The incident occurred in the parking lot of the Valencia Apartments off of Bell Avenue on Southside Columbus. Large amounts of blood could be seen on the ground and on the car Owens and Thomas were believed to both be riding in.
A video taken by witnesses immediately after the incident showed Thomas with swollen eyes, a cut above his left eye and excessive bleeding on his face. Thomas' front teeth were knocked out as well. A towel was placed on Thomas' eye to keep his eye in place until medics arrived on scene, witnesses said. Thomas was transported via ambulance to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle.
"He was real messed up," one witness said. "He could have killed that boy."
About a dozen residents gathered after the attack and some said Thomas' disability is well known throughout the community. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, they added that Thomas is mild mannered and would not have fought back. A woman who lives across the street from the apartment complex said she saw the attack occur.
"He was just lying there on the ground," she said. "He was just lying there."
A woman who knows Thomas and Owens said she would be tempted to harm Owens if she was related to Thomas.
"There would be a killing," she said. "I would kill him if something like that happened to my brother. I would kill him myself. With me walking up and seeing my brother like that, I wouldn't have no understanding. He's disabled. You ain't got no business doing that."
Owens has been arrested 39 times with 66 charges since 2001. His past charges range from drug-related incidents, sexual battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, driving under the influence, assault on a police officer, public drunkenness, shoplifting and resisting arrest.
He has never been sentenced to prison in Mississippi.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.