Visiting farm worker beaten in East End Road attack

Two apparently drunk men beat up and robbed a New York visitor in an attack Wednesday afternoon near Mile 21 East End Road. The assailants stripped the 19-year-old man of everything but his boxer shorts and left him on the side of the road. The victim suffered minor injuries, including a head injury, but is otherwise OK.

“They were just super drunk,” the victim said in a phone interview on Thursday. “It definitely rattled me. They scared me, for sure. They could have really hurt me if they tried.”

Alaska State Troopers are seeking any information about the attack. In a press release, troopers said the attack happened about 4:15 p.m. June 4. A passerby found the victim in the road wearing nothing but underwear.

Troopers said the assailants drove a silver Toyota single-cab pickup truck with a beat-up camper shell. The victim did not get a license plate. The

attackers had masks pulled over their faces, but the victim said an older man in his 30s, the driver, had a beard and wore aviator sunglasses. The man stood by the truck while the other men beat him, the victim said.

The victim had been riding a four-wheeler when the three men in the truck forced him off the road. The victim rolled his four-wheeler down a steep embankment. Two younger men came down from the truck, held the victim to the ground and tore off his clothes and took other items, troopers said.

The victim said he was at the top of the switchback road that goes down to Kachemak Selo near the head of Kachemak Bay. The victim has been in Homer since May 2 and is working for a local rancher and farmer as a “woofer,” or traveling farm worker, under the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program. The rancher had gone down the switchback road ahead of the victim, but the victim had trouble getting the four-wheeler started and was delayed.

The victim said he saw three men in the silver truck pass by him, do a three-point turn, and come back toward him and stop facing his four-wheeler.

“I was, ‘Can I help you guys?’ and that’s when they threw the beer bottle at my four-wheeler,” the victim said.

He then tried to go around the men on the left, but went over the steep embankment.

“It rolled once. It looked like it was going to roll over,” the victim said of his four-wheeler. “I kept rolling. I looked behind me. They got out of the truck.”

Two younger men about the victim’s age came down from the truck after him. The victim said he started running away. He pulled a fixed-blade knife with a caribou handle, but dropped it when he tripped on alders.

“They started beating on me. They were super intoxicated. The smell of alcohol was real pungent,” he said.

The victim wore a cowboy hat with a fish pin on it. The attackers took that, his cell phone, his knife, his clothes, his shoes and even a necklace his girlfriend gave him, a silver cross on a chain. He said he didn’t think the men intended to seriously hurt him.

“They could have done a lot more damage to me than they did,” the victim said.

After the attack, a man passing by on a four-wheeler found the victim. He took the victim to his employer, a rancher, waiting at the bottom  of the switchback trail. The rancher called troopers.

Anyone with information on the attack is encouraged to call the Anchor Point Alaska State Trooper post at 235-8239.

“If anyone has information helping us locate the people responsible, it would be much appreciated,” said trooper spokesperson Megan Peters.

Peters called the nature of the attack, a random beating by strangers, unusual for Alaska.

“We don’t see this kind of activity,” she said. “It is relatively new. You just scratch your head and go, ‘What’s the point of that?’”

The victim works as a volunteer firefighter in a town near Buffalo. He said he is thinking of staying in Homer.

“Given what I’ve seen of Homer, I really don’t know if they’re from Homer. I hope not,” he said. “This stuff can happen anywhere in the world, any time. The probability of it happening in Homer from where I’m from is way less.” 

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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