Maybe a gang of teens did attack the 49-year-old man left bloodied in the street after a scooter robbery. Or maybe a car hit him first. The evidence so far fails to support either theory, according to police — though the victim's coworkers are convinced a beating did take place.
MacQuarrie had just finished repairing a "candy-apple" scooter when he took it out for a test drive. He turned onto Orchard, then onto Goffe.
What happened next is the mystery.
MacQuarrie ended up barely conscious and bathed in blood in the middle of the street. Traffic stopped. Several women raced to help him. One called for a shirt to wipe the blood. One spoke with him. Someone called 911.
And some young people rode off with the scooter.
The initial report to the police came in as a pedestrian struck, presumably by a vehicle.
Sgt. Max Joyner rushed to the scene. He spoke to three women, two of whom said they were nurses who tried to help the
"They said all they saw was a crowd. People started walking away. They saw two black males standing over a white male. They couldn't say they witnessed a scooter jacking. They saw a commotion. They couldn't see the details."
Based on initial accounts, police reported that a gang of teens had rushed MacQuarrie, "pushed him from the moving scooter, assaulted him and fled with the scooter, leaving him bleeding in the road."
"I was 30 seconds down the street. I pulled right up. And I can't tell you what happened," Joyner said. Usually, in a pedestrian-struck case, he'll see skid marks on the street or other physical evidence. Not in this case.
Detectives joined the investigation. So far no witnesses have reported seeing the whole episode, according to Sgt. Robert Lawlor Jr.,
the head of the robbery and burglary unit. No witnesses actually saw MacQuarrie get pushed off the scooter. Someone reported seeing two vehicles speed away, a green car and a dark-colored Acura. Someone reported that young men were yelling, "Get him off the bike! Get him off the bike!"
For his part, MacQuarrie remembers a young man on a bicycle coming at him with an "angry look" in his eye, according to coworker Green. He remembers trying to avoid eye contact with the person. He remembers getting hit on the back of the head. After that, he remembers nothing of the incident.
A report from doctors at the hospital has further complicated the picture, Sgt. Lawlor
They called the extent of MacQuarrie's injuries "inconsistent" with a quick beating, too severe. However, no physical evidence at the scene pointed to a prior collision between the scooter and a car, either. Police found a four-inch piece of plastic near the scene, but that wasn't conclusive, according to Lawlor.
Was the theft of the scooter a "crime of opportunity?" Lawlor asked.
"As of right this second, there's no proof of a mob beating. It's very unclear what occurred. They either pushed him off the bike and beat him, which there's no evidence of; or a car hit him. There's no evidence of this either."
Police are interviewing MacQuarrie again. They recovered the scooter Friday night: Two undercover cops spotted two young men riding it near the Hamden shopping plaza on Dixwell Avenue and followed them into Newhallville. When other cops arrived, the young men ditched the scooter and fled.