ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Residents on the east side of St. Paul say they’re fed up with crime and they point to Monday’s assault of a neighbor as the last straw.
The neighbor, 32-year-old Bruce Chang, bears the ugly facial wounds that nearly cost him his left eye. He was attacked by a group of young men who were gambling on his driveway, blocking his access as he returned home from work.
What they didn’t know: Chang’s wife was armed, and nearby.
A couple years ago Chang obtained a firearms permit for self-protection. He said he’d had enough of the petty crime frightening families in his neighborhood. But on Monday evening, he found himself on the receiving end.
“I didn’t know I was stabbed but I felt the pressure and fell to one knee,” he said. “I immediately pushed off, because you got to survive.”
He was assaulted by a mob of 15 to 30 young men gambling on his driveway. They threw rocks and jabbed a stick at his face, striking him just below his left eye.
“With one of my older neighbors, who knows what would have happened,” Chang said.
Chang’s wife also has a firearm-carry permit. Because he can’t take his pistol to his workplace, Chang didn’t have it Monday when he pulled into his driveway.
“I’m also thinking that might be a deterrent factor, because my wife was able to come out of the house with her piece,” he said
That’s when his attackers ran off. Though he was bleeding and badly injured, Chang snapped a picture as several drove off in a burgundy Saturn sedan.
Neighbors blame troublemakers from a nearby park and community center, adding that police can only do so much to deter the crime. Gary Worden has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years.
“They can patrol but they can only react,” he said. “I’ve called a million times over I don’t know how many years.”
Chang says he’s glad he stood up to the mob, defending the right to live and not be trapped by fear.
“I just want to let people know you should feel safe coming out of your own home,” he said.
St. Paul police are increasing patrols in the neighborhood and ask for the public’s help. Anyone with information on those responsible is asked to call them at 651- 216-1636.