The 70-year-old victim of what's been called an unprovoked attack on Valley Drive in Syracuse has died of injuries sustained in the beating. Suspect 18-year-old Romeo Williams is in custody for the assault and Syracuse Police say they'll consult with Onondaga County District Attorneys to consider further charges.
James Gifford had been in critical condition after the Saturday assault. Syracuse Police say he passed away today. They're now treating the case as a homicide.
The incident took place around 6:05 a.m. Saturday outside the 7-11 store at Valley Drive and South Ave. Police Chief Frank Fowler described the attack as completely unprovoked. He said the suspect assaulted Gifford by hitting him in the head, knocking him down, perhaps unconscious. Williams is then said to have gone into the store, then come out and continued to beat Gifford.
Fowler expressed his personal disgust with the crime, saying Williams appeared to have celebrated after knocking the elderly man out. The attack drew a community gathering of nearly 100 residents to the location last Sunday morning. Residents were given credit by police and Mayor Stephanie Miner for helping identify the suspect.