A grainy black and white video of the attack of a soldier walking along a South Tampa street went viral.
National news media picked up on the story of the lone soldier whose car had broken down being approached by four young men, beaten and robbed of his wallet and cell phone.
The attack so outraged the community that private donors contributed $16,000 in reward money for information leading to the capture of the attackers.
Just over a week later, Tampa police have arrested a third teenager linked to the unprovoked attack. A nearby security camera captured the youngsters beating and kicking the victim, Army Sgt. Johnny Aparicio, who was hospitalized with a bloody, broken nose and a knocked out tooth.
The sergeant is with Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base and is relatively new to the area. He was attacked during the early morning on May 13th only a few miles from the base.
MacDill Commander Col. Lenny Richoux called the attack an isolated incident and credited the community for its response.
“I had to do very little. It was the community that came to us and said ‘We can’t believe that this happened to one of our military people,’” Richoux said. “They’ve come to the sheriff’s office and they’re helping them to find these people.”
Richoux said the people of Tampa recognize how valuable the military is to the community and “have wrapped their arms around us.”
Community tips helped lead police to the arrest Friday of suspects Geroshe Lewis, 18, and Lerome Howard, 18, both of Robinson High School in South Tampa. Late Sunday, Jared Richardson, 18, of Brandon was arrested. A fourth suspect is still at large.