Witness Comes Forward in Brutal Assault of Man Riding His Bike

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A witness is coming forward after she says she saw a 65-year-old Des Moines man get beat up by two men Sunday night.

Des Moines Sgt. Paul Parizek said Charles Wesley Brown was riding his bicycle in the 2800 block of SE 14th St. about 10:35 p.m. when two white males in their 20s assaulted him.

Brown was hospitalized and is still in critical condition almost a week later. Police say he is still unable to speak, which leaves investigators with only witnesses' statements to use during the investigation.

Denisha Betts, 31, said she was driving northbound on Southeast 14th Street when she saw a man riding his bicycle and two men running toward the bike.

“I’m still driving, looking back while I’m driving and I noticed two of them run towards him. One gets out [of their car] and punches him two times, knocks him off the bike,” Betts said.

She said the punches looked hard.

“I was concerned for the guy and even the cars coming down the street. I didn’t want them to not see him and run him over,” she said.

Betts said she immediately pulled over and went to see if the man was alright.

“I asked him if he was OK, but he didn’t respond. And by the time I asked him if he was OK and no response, a nurse came running up,” Betts said.

The victim, who police have identified as Brown, was unable to speak. Betts said there was blood everywhere.

“It was all from his nose. It was a lot of blood. It was kind of running down the crack of the street,” she said. “I think he was unconscious. I mean, you could hear him breathing.”

The suspects, described as two white men in their 20s, fled from the scene in a silver, mid-90's to early 2000's Pontiac Grand Prix. Their motive is unknown.

Suspects vehicle is a silver, four-door 1996-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix, similar to this photo.

Suspects vehicle is a silver, four-door 1996-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix, similar to this photo.

"Absent of hearing [the suspects’] side of the story, which is important and why we want to locate these guys, the only thing we’re left with is a seemingly random, cowardly act of violence against a guy who was minding his own business,” said Des Moines Sgt. Paul Parizek.

Betts also said it was a cowardly act of violence.

“I think that it was a coward move. He didn’t look like he bothered anybody. I’ve seen him riding his bike before, up and down Southeast 14th, and I’ve never seen him bother anybody,” she said.

Anyone with any information about the suspects and or the vehicle is asked to call the Des Moines Police Department at 515-283-4811, or Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa at 515-223-1400. You can also submit a tip online at www.crimestoppersofcentraliowa.com.