GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - An assault earlier this week has left many people shocked and devastated. A man was beaten and robbed near a wooded area in Gulfport Monday. Friends say the man was homeless and the attack happened in the middle of the day.
One suspect, a Gulfport woman, is charged with aggravated assault and simple robbery. Police are still looking for at least two more male suspects.
Days after he was attacked and left bleeding and unconscious near 19th Street in Gulfport, 59-year old Mike Perkinson is slowly recovering from severe head injuries and bruises on his body. Joe Campbell was walking by Monday when he found the injured man, known as Mr. Mike.
"His face was busted all up, shoes off of him. Back of his head looked like somebody took a meat cleaver to it," said Campbell.
Those who spoke with Mr. Mike at the hospital said the attackers took everything Mr. Mike owned; his cell phone, his ID, his disability card, even his knapsack and medication.
"I was sad. I wasn't there to protect him," said Howard Torpy, who is a friend of Perkinson.
"It was a terrible beating. He was beaten bad enough, it could have killed him," said Ted Hearn, a Feed My Sheep board member.
Mr. Mike's absence was strongly felt at Feed My Sheep Thursday. He came to the soup kitchen every day.
"Every time he got salad dressing from me, it was 'Thank you Ms. Toni'. He was really sweet and really polite. I miss him," said Toni Adams, a volunteer at Feed My Sheep.
That's why many people are wondering why anyone would want to hurt such a quiet and gentle man.
"He was an old man. Why in the world would you want to go hurt an old man that can hardly even walk no more?" asked Torpy.
"I went down in intensive care, sat there all night, but they finally brought him back. He was pretty incoherent the last couple of days," said James Sapovich, who calls Mr. Mike a close friend. "It was really horrible. He's lucky to be alive."
Friends said they don't want to see Mr. Mike returning to the streets once he's out of the hospital.
"I went and talked to some organizations to get Mr. Mike an apartment," said Sapovich. "We went and bought him new clothes to bring him home, and we're really going to try to put his life in order."
If you have any information about the crime, call the Gulfport Police Department at (228) 868-5959. Crimestoppers is also offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this case. You can call the organization at (877) 787-5898.