Fear grips New England town after series of unprovoked street attacks

At least 10 men have been attacked since November 10 in Waltham, Massachusetts.

A man was out for a night walk when someone came up behind him and hit him in the face with a blunt object. Another victim was taking out the trash in his apartment complex when he was ambushed, and a US Postal Service carrier was severely beaten while delivering the mail after dark.

Residents of Waltham, Massachusetts are on the alert after police say at least 10 men have been targeted by a mysterious assailant in a spate of unprovoked assaults that have occurred since November 10 .

“Waltham Police are using all means necessary to bring this matter to an end as quickly as possible,” said Detective Sgt. Steve McCarthy said in a statement.

McCarthy said the last attack happened around 8 p.m. on Friday when a culprit showed up behind a man walking on a residential street, hit him in the face with a blunt weapon and fled under cover of darkness. As in the other cases, McCarthy said the person responsible for the serial assaults appears to be on the prowl and attack the victims by surprise.

Police released surveillance video on Saturday of an individual they described as “a suspect in the recent series of assaults around Waltham” and urged the public to contact them with any information on the identity of the person.

The video shows a man in a dark hooded coat, light blue jeans and sneakers running down a street. Police did not say when or where the video was taken.

Investigators only have a general description of the assailant, saying he appears to be a black male, 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 10 inches tall and 160 to 180 pounds.

Police have also taken the unusual step of making reverse 911 calls to alert townspeople, warning them to be vigilant and to stay aware of their surroundings, especially after dark.

Authorities said that in all of the “random and unprovoked” attacks, the suspect struck between 5:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. in the city 22 miles northwest of Boston.

Initially, the assailant appeared to target residents of an apartment complex, but has since spread to the community of around 63,000 people, attacking several recent victims in the city’s downtown area, police said.

David Cameros, one of the victims, told ABC affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston that he was assaulted on Wednesday night outside his apartment complex. He said he had just taken out his trash and was talking on his cell phone while smoking when he was hit in the head by what he thinks was a baseball bat.

Cameros said he lost consciousness and ended up with a fractured skull.

“I don’t know if there is only one attacker or if there are more attackers. The aggressor always attacks from behind,” Cameros said.

Another victim, who only gave his first name, Emerson, a mechanic, told WCVB he was targeted during a night walk also on Wednesday night. Emerson remains in a hospital treated for several fractures to his face and skull.

Emerson said the forward came up behind him like a “coward” and didn’t get a chance to see his face.

“I haven’t had a chance to defend myself,” Emerson said on Saturday, adding that he was awaiting facial surgery.

Melissa Gallant, a friend of Emerson’s, said she and other townspeople were shaken by the attacks.

“I know he’s badly beaten, badly, badly and he’s such a nice guy,” Gallant told WCVB of Emerson. “It’s heartbreaking. It’s not good. He helps everyone. He’s a very good man.”

About John A. Provost

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