Victim says off-duty officer stopped savage attack
PORTSMOUTH - Afghanistan war veteran and Purple Heart recipient Steven Bohn credits an off-duty Raymond police officer with saving his life after he stopped a savage attack outside The Page Bar and Restaurant downtown Saturday night.
Bohn said police told him that officer Cory Blancato turned back the four alleged attackers, then stayed with him until Portsmouth police arrived.
"He deserves a medal. If I was rich, I'd give him everything," Bohn said Tuesday in a phone interview from his parents' home in Peabody, Mass. "Honestly, I'd probably be dead if it wasn't for him."
Reached at his home Tuesday, Blancato confirmed that he stopped the beating, but would not provide any more details.
"They would've killed him," he said.
Police arrested a fourth person in connection with the assault Tuesday morning.
Anna Battle, 21, of Portsmouth, was charged with second-degree assault, accused of kicking Bohn in the stomach while he was on the ground. Her bail was set at $1,000 cash, despite a request by prosecutors to hold her on $25,000 cash.
Judge Stephen Morrison noted during her arraignment that Battle is a longtime resident of Portsmouth and this was her first criminal charge.
"I guess I'm just a little concerned in that without any prior record, it's not like she's a one-woman crime spree," he said.
Police said an argument began inside The Page late Saturday night involving Bohn and others; all were kicked out.
When Bohn exited onto the Vaughn Mall, near Cabot House Furniture, he was allegedly attacked from behind by Daniel May, 23, of 1 Rockaway St. in Portsmouth, police said. Three others joined in, police said, beating Bohn so severely that his bladder, which was damaged during a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan in November 2008, burst.
May was arrested outside the bar Saturday night. Paul Hayes, 25, of 191 State St., Portsmouth, was arrested Sunday night. May's girlfriend, Jessica King, 33, of Portsmouth, was arrested when she showed up for his arraignment Monday morning.
The three of them, along with Battle, are accused of assaulting Bohn in some way. They allegedly struck him even after he lay unconscious on the ground, police said.
May is charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest, possession of drugs and simple assault. He was held on $25,000 cash bail; prosecutors said he was previously convicted of simple assault, shoplifting and disorderly conduct, among other things.
King is charged with second-degree assault and also held on $25,000 cash bail. Prosecutors said prior convictions include simple assault and theft.
Hayes is charged with two counts of second-degree assault and held on $30,000 cash bail. Prosecutors said he was previously convicted of armed robbery, resisting arrest and simple assault, among other things.
Following the alleged assault, Bohn was taken to Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where doctors performed emergency surgery to repair his bladder. He was released Monday night, but said Tuesday he was still in plenty of pain.
"I still have tubes in my stomach, staples in my stomach," he said.
Bohn said he was in Portsmouth for the first time Saturday night with one of his friends and his coworkers. He said he was dancing at The Page when trouble began.
"There was just two kids that were staring over at us and they came over and they started coming after us," he said. "My friend pushed them and said, 'Get away.'"
The dustup led to all of them getting kicked out. Bohn said he left before his other friends. He said he was outside when he was attacked.
"I just don't get why four people would jump one innocent person," he said. "It just makes no sense. They obviously have a lot of rage and need help."
Bohn, of Peabody, Mass., was in the Army, serving outside of Kabul, Afghanistan, in November 2008 when a suicide bomber pulled up outside the compound he was in, driving a truck laden with 2,000 pounds of explosives. The subsequent blast collapsed a building on top of him and led to severe injuries, a Purple Heart and to him leaving the military.
"I had two herniated discs in my neck," he said. "My bladder had to be reconstructed the first time and then I had to have spinal surgery at Walter Reed (Army Medical Center) in Washington, D.C."
Saturday's attack exacerbated those injuries, Bohn said.