NBC10 - Katy Zachry
The victim opened the door to his attackers in Northeast Philadelphia. He thought it was his neighbors. NBC10's Katy Zachry reports.
A Vietnam War veteran, confined to a wheelchair, was attacked by a group of armed masked men inside his home overnight and he is blaming himself for the incident.
"I thought nothing like that would happen," said Larnell "Larry" Brown.
Brown wasn't at fault. He was just thinking a neighbor was coming to check up on him when the men burst into the Marine Corps. vet's town home on the 9400 block of Ashton Road in Northeast Philadelphia around midnight.
Brown, a 58-year-old vet who receives daily nursing care plus help from neighbors, opened the door -- which has a "US Marines" sticker on it -- thinking it was a neighbor who had helped him earlier. Instead, a group of masked men burst in and began to attack Brown in his bed.
"When he buzzed the person, it was five to six males who rushed him, punched him, struck him in the face several times, made him lie on his stomach and put a gun to his head," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.
Brown was treated for cuts and bruises. He told NBC10 that he blamed himself for allowing in the men.
The group of men took a television, money, medications and some jewelry before darting out of the home, according to police.
Police said it was unclear if the men fled on foot or if they had a getaway vehicle.
Brown said he thinks the men knew he was home alone.
Investigators were looking at local surveillance video and also trying to gather evidence to figure out who is responsible. They believe the men possibly targeted the victim due to his health issues and because his son, who normally stays in the home, wasn't their last night.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact North Detectives at 215-686-3153 or email: Police.CO_NEDD@Phila.gov.
Just last week, a group of legislators joined Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey to promote a proposed bill that would make home invasion its own category of crime.
House Bill 1296 would define home invasions as when "a person knowingly enters, attempts to enter or remains unlawfully in a dwelling with intent to commit a crime of violence in the dwelling."