Homeless man beaten with hammer

Maurice Fortune
Maurice Fortune

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The suspect in a brutal attack is behind bars and the victim, a homeless man, is fighting for his life.

Witnesses tell us their friend Timothy was beaten in the head with a hammer as he rested in a sleeping bag. He's now in grave condition at VCU Medical Center. Those who have lived at the camp for years are now fearing for their home.

For a group of Richmond's homeless, a concrete clearing on Maury Street has become home. One resident tells us they're like any other family; they just live on the streets. They survive making $50 a day.

"We go out there to the streets. We panhandle. We come back. We eat. We sleep. We do the same thing every day," said a resident.

But he says a group of younger men has disturbed the balance of the daily routine.

"Most of us out here are over 50. These young guys that come out here, they're full of energy and they can't handle drinking. And once they get exploding, that's when things happen," he said.

Tensions erupted Tuesday night when police say after being asked to leave; 27-year-old Maurice Fortune beat Timothy in the head with a hammer as he rested. Friends were finally able to intervene.

"Each one of us protects each other. The police, they know we're here. They're kind of like our other protection," said one friend.

But now residents are wondering if that peaceful coexistence will come to an end.

"It's like they can't trust us. They know we're here but once we start getting out of control, they get involved.  It's a whole different situation," said one resident. "I think they're really going to shut this place down. We're just going to move to a new location.  It's a shame."

The friend tells us he visited Timothy in the hospital twice Tuesday and it doesn't look good. For now, Maurice Fortune has been charged with aggravated assault.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.