New father is victim of playground beating

Scott Simerson (Undated courtesy photo)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The mother of one of the teens accused of brutally beating a new father says her son “has sorrow for what happened.”

Investigators have arrested two teenage boys, ages 15 and 16, in connection to the Friday incident that left Scott Simerson, 24, in critical condition.

Grand Rapids police said Simerson was babysitting some preteen children on the playground outside Grand Rapids’ Sibley Elementary and the suspects started harassing them, to which Simerson took exception. Then, police said, when Simerson was not looking, one of the suspects hit him. The three suspects then allegedly continued to assault him.

Simerson remained on life support Tuesday evening and was suffering from swelling on his brain, family told 24 Hour News 8.

While one suspect has not been arrested, two others were in court Tuesday for the first time in connection to the incident. They face charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

24 Hour News 8 is not identifying of the suspects because they are juveniles.

The mother of the 16-year-old and his stepfather appeared in juvenile court to support him. His mother said she had not spoken to her son about what happened but described him as a good kid.

The 15-year-old appeared a short time later in juvenile court. His mother was also present.

“My son has sorrow for what happened,” the mother told 24 Hour News 8 outside of the Juvenile Detention Center. “He said ‘Mom, I didn’t know what to do when they kicked him.'”

The story that mother said her son told her differs from police’s account. The 15-year-old purportedly claims that he was walking down the street and was hit in the head with a stray basketball. The mother then says he confronted Simerson, who purportedly “laughed” the incident off, the mother said. She said that’s when her son hit Simerson.

“My son hit the man. These three guys stomped him,” she said, claiming that her son was not involved further and did not know the men who stomped on the victim.

“It’s terrible that two families have to go through literal hell right now because three people had to stomp an innocent person,” the mother said.

Simerson turned 24 years old Sunday, two days after the beating. His loved ones describe him as a great guy and loving father.

“I just hope he pulls through,” said Terrie Solis-Mack, a friend of Simerson’s. “He’s awesome. He’s friendly, caring. He’s giving.”


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