Skateboard crew raising money for beating victim
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida skateboarding crew gathered Friday night to show support and raise funds for a fellow skateboarder who was brutally beaten last weekend.
One week ago, 22-year-old Rene Betancourt Jr. was on his way to meet the Miami Longboard Crew, a group of skateboarders, in Downtown Miami.
Betancourt was going to see the group for the first time, but before he could, he was attacked and robbed.
The 22-year-old was so severely beaten that he suffered a broken nose and a fractured skull.
Following the attack, Betancourt drove himself to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he told detectives what occurred. The victim's father, Rene Betancourt Sr. said, "He told them that he was assaulted by three to five African Americans. They assaulted him, and they beat him with something very heavy."
Since the beating, Betancourt has made huge strides on his long road to recovery. On Thursday, he walked for the first time since his attack, and met some members of the Miami Longboard Crew, who came to visit him at the hospital.
Now, the crew is holding a scavenger hunt race on Miami Beach, to raise money for Betancourt's recovery. "As soon as we hear somebody's coming out to MLC, we're like, 'He's instantly a part of our crew. We've got his back,'" said Shane Wasserman, a member of the crew.
"Originally, everybody was going to throw down $5 and they were going to win the pot," crew member Patrick McDonough said, "but when everybody found out what happened to him, everybody decided that instead of having anybody winning anything, that it's all just going to go into a jar and be delivered right to him."
Betancourt does not have health insurance, and his medical bills are quickly piling up. His new friends are hoping the money raised Friday will help Betancourt on his journey to recovery, so he can soon skateboard with them. "I came out here, because I heard what happened to Rene, and I wanted to show some support toward him," Mark Espimao said.
"Rene, God bless you," said Wasserman. "If I see you, I'll be there at the hospital for you, bro."
Later Friday night, the crew plans to raise even more money for Betancourt at the Chalk Ping Pong & Billiards Lounge on Washington Avenue.
If you have any information on who was behind the attack, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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