On July 4, a 17-year-old lifeguard was attacked and stabbed after asking a group to stop drinking and smoking at Bell Pond in Worcester County, Massachusetts.
A police investigation reveals that most members of the group left without incident, “but one person was verbally aggressive and threatening.” Reportedly, this person “left the park but came back later with a small group and attacked the victim.”
According to IBT, officers were dispatched to Bell Pond around 6:30 p.m. “for reports of an on-duty lifeguard being attacked.” They found and provided medical aid to the teenager’s stab wounds before taking him to a hospital via ambulance. MSN reports the lifeguard as “now recovering at home.”
The 17-year-old had just finished the certification course 4-5 weeks ago.
Bell Pond in #Worcester is closed today after a 17 y/o lifeguard was assaulted and stabbed last night. He suffered non-life threatening injuries. @WorcesterPD arrested 4 people. #wcvb pic.twitter.com/csCTOphtm6
— Sera Congi (@seracongi) July 5, 2021
The suspected perpetrators initially arrested were 22-year-old Celestine Bigirimana, 19-year-old Mohamed Abdullahi, a 17-year-old juvenile, and a fourth unnamed male. Bigirimana was apprehended after an on-foot pursuit; Abdullahi and the other two males were arrested as they came out of Bell Hill Park’s woods.
So glad he’s okay.
Attacking and stabbing someone for doing their job is indicative of the hostility faced by front line workers in our society.
— Lovehersports50 (@lovehersports50) July 5, 2021
Celestine Bigirimana was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, trespassing, resisting arrest, and possession of an open container of alcohol. Mohamed Abdullahi and the 17-year-old were charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and disturbing the peace; the 17-year-old faces an additional charge of disorderly conduct.
The unnamed male was later released without charges.
According to MSN, all three suspects were arraigned on July 6, 2021. During the court hearing, the teenage lifeguard said the suspects had “attacked him by striking him with the large stick, punching him, and stabbing him.”
Assistant Worchester District Attorney Joseph Simmons added that the assailants “stabbed the 17-year-old lifeguard in the lower back” and “other staffers intervened to force the assailants off the wounded guard”, as well as to take a photo of the suspects.
During the hearing, both Bigirimana and Abdullahi pled not guilty. Abdullahi’s lawyer noted that the identification of Abdullahi was weak. She called the identification process coercive and difficult, while also claiming that “only three of them identified, it appears, Mr. Abdullahi. So there is a question as to some of the identification.”
Although their detention hearings were scheduled for Thursday, July 8, no new details have emerged.
Social Media Response
After TB Daily News alleged that @Savageboy Jonne was Celestine Bigirimana’s Facebook account, users flocked to the account to post comments. Many are insults like “hood rat” and “ghetto trash”, while some are jokes about shanking and jail. One user succinctly asks: “Did you stab someone?”
While the original poster’s tone and intentions are unknown, their question highlights the uncertain credibility of TB Daily News’ claim.
Many others are arguing that the city or police should deal with future drinkers or smokers, not beach lifeguards.
Sure, agreed. However, 1 year later, the lifeguard is 18 and same shit happens. Then what?
— Jordan BSN RN CCRN (@DUVALLLLL) July 6, 2021
the lifeguard doesn’t say shit to the people at the beach who are not drowning, and no one gets stabby. If the town is aware that is thug beach, they are approve the details, the OT for the police or close the beach.
— The Era of Calm (@ParazziD) July 6, 2021
Worcester police Chief Steven Sargent said the Worcester Police Department would be increasing patrols at public spaces like beaches and parks.