Man says 3 teens attacked him at Milwaukee's Holler Park
7:02 PM, Aug 14, 2017
A man says he was attacked at Holler Park by three teenagers.
David Ciepluch, 67, says the three teenagers were skateboarding on the wooden deck around the Holler Park Lodge. He says he told them to skate on the asphalt, as to not ruin the wood, and took their photos to give to police should he find any damage.
He says one of the three boys started swearing at him and he followed them as they walked away to make sure they left. As they reached an exit, he says he got hit.
"I got smacked in the head with something," Ciepluch said. "I don't think it was a fist. I think it might have been a skateboard or some other object. I was quite stunned. I went to my knees and fighting off blows and other punches, hanging on to my dogs at the same time."
Ciepluch's left eye is nearly swollen shut. He says there are no major skull fractures or internal bleeding.
Ciepluch says the boys ran away laughing afterward. Because their neighborhood is pretty tight-knit, he says he thinks he has seen the boys before.
"It's disheartening because some of these teens, I've watched grow up in this neighborhood," Ciepluch said. "From young on, swimming in the pool, playing basketball. I've seen a couple of them, two maybe even the third one almost on a weekly basis as I walk by. Sometimes they say 'hi.' They know who I am. It isn't like they don't know me. They know me by sight."
Ciepluch says he has poured thousands of dollars and hours into helping restore the park. So when he saw someone potentially damaging the park he loves, he stepped up.
"We take care of the park," Ciepluch said. "It's public ownership of a common good."
While he hopes the boys get help in the future, he wants them to face consequences for what they did to him.
"If they continue on this track, they're going to ruin their own lives," Ciepluch said. "They need some kind of help."
He says he's going to need some time to heal both physically and mentally but Ciepluch won't be quiet if he sees someone doing something like this.
"I'll always speak up," Ciepluch said. "I've always been one for right and wrong and stick up for other people."
Milwaukee County Parks confirmed the Milwaukee County Sheriff contacted them about investigating the incident. However, the Sheriff's Department has not released any information yet.