One of the teens, a 15-year-old, accused of beating a 64-year-old Vietnam War veteran was in custody Thursday night facing aggravated assault and robbery charges, according to Philadelphia Police.
His identity was withheld since he is a juvenile but it has yet to be determined if he will be charged as an adult, officials said.
The teen faces an attempted murder charge. Police say they are still looking for at least one other boy believed to be involved and were trying to get a warrant for his arrest.
Ed Schaefer lost his eye in a grenade attack while serving in the Vietnam War. On Tuesday he was injured in a different kind of battle, as a group of teens ambushed him from behind in the Olney section of Philadelphia and fractured his skull in what police call a robbery attempt.
"The kids that run around the streets... they have no respect for anybody or themselves and they're going to learn their lessons sooner or later," Schaefer said after being released from the hospital Friday.
His wife summed up what a couple of kids could have done to her husband.
“I’m lucky my husband’s not dead,” said Kate Schaefer.
The grandfather of four was on his way to meet his wife at about 6 p.m. Tuesday and while walking on the 5000 block of N 5th Street two or three teens approached him from behind, police say.
The teens beat Schaefer so badly that he was left with serious injuries to his face, head and hand including a broken skull and orbital bone around the eye he lost at war, according to authorities.
(WARNING: Photo of Schaefer just after the attack is graphic)
When they were done, the suspects left the injured man and ran south on 5th Street from the scene, police say.
“Why they did what they did for other than ha-has I don’t know,” Schaefer’s wife said.
The socket of Schaefer's bad eye was broken, and doctors struggled to deal with the fact that removing the prosthesis could cause his face to collapse, sources said.
By Thursday night authorities had identified all the teens in the original surveillance video but they say only two or three of the teens actually participated in the beating -- the others just happened to be walking by in the moments before the beating.
“These animals have to be put away and this is the time that we need people from the neighborhood to step up and help us,” said Philadelphia Police Lt. George McClay.
The robbers made off with a cell phone and nothing more, police said.
Schaefer recently retired after years of working with other veterans, helping them find jobs. He's also very involved with the Boys Scouts of America, his family says.
“It just makes me feel sorry that all this garbage is going down in Philadelphia,” Schaefer’s wife said. “I’m not very happy right now to be a Philadelphia resident.”