MILWAUKEE – Several people were being questioned by detectives in the beating of a motorist who was dragged from his car and severely injured, police said Wednesday.
The 50-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition with head trauma after the beating late Monday on Milwaukee's north side, according to police.
His condition had improved by Wednesday morning, police Lt. Scott Lange said. He gave no further details on the victim's condition or on the people he said were being questioned, except to say there had been no arrests.
City officials asked for the public's help in finding the assailants, believed to be between 16 and 23 years old. It was the latest in a string of mob beatings in the city since 2002.
The young people surrounded the man's vehicle after he honked at them because they were in the middle of the street, police said.
"It's Christmas week. A guy's trying to drive down the street. What's the problem here?" said Mayor Tom Barrett.
The victim, 50-year-old Samuel McClain, was going to a friend's house, said his niece, Jennifer McClain.
Police said he was pulled from the car, and witnesses said they saw some attackers climb on cars and jump on the victim's head.
Britney King said she and her two sisters saw the attackers doing flips and cartwheels from cars onto the man.
"It looked like they were having a block party," she said.
Several mob beatings have taken place in Milwaukee's inner city in recent years. In 2002, more than a dozen people, mostly boys, chased a man through the streets and beat him to death with shovel handles, rakes and tree limbs.
A man with schizophrenia died after being beaten and robbed by a group in 2004. Six teens were charged; one was convicted, charges against four were dropped and one is awaiting trial.
Four days after that attack, a 14-year-old boy was kicked, punched and hit on the head with a piece of lumber after he exchanged words with a girl. He was in a coma for two weeks. Also that summer, four brothers were beaten by a group armed with bats, bottles, sticks and socks stuffed with canned food.