It’s the phone call no parent ever wants to get – the person on the other end telling you that your son has been robbed, and, worse yet, assaulted.
It’s an even bigger nightmare if your son is only 14 years old.
This is the phone call that Roy, who asked that his last name not be used, received at around 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 18.
On the other end was his 14-year-old son Angelo, who had just been jumped, robbed of his T-Mobile Sidekick cell phone and some money, and assaulted by two 16- and 17-year-old males on Redding Street and Albert Road in Ozone Park. He was on his way to a store, he said.
There was blood everywhere.
Roy dropped everything and raced to his son, who had called him from Animal Pantry, a pet store on Cross Bay Boulevard where he is a customer.
“When I pulled up, I saw him holding himself up,” said Roy. “Then he spit out blood. You could follow the blood trail, and I saw he couldn’t open his mouth.”
Roy immediately called 9-1-1 and then his wife Michelle and she too raced to the scene.
“I felt like it took forever to get to him,” she said, hands trembling, tears in her eyes, trying to breathe deeply as she recounted to The Courier the ordeal that left her son’s lower jaw broken on the right side.
“When he [Roy] called me and told me there’s a lot of blood, [I started] screaming and crying,” she said.
But when she saw Angelo was able to stand, her tears were of relief and joy.
Officers from the 106th Precinct, FDNY and EMTs showed up and began handling the situation.
“When the EMT put his gloves on and tried to look in Angelo’s mouth, he was in pain, he couldn’t move,” said his concerned mother.
He was taken by ambulance to Jamaica Hospital, where a CT scan showed that the teen’s mandible, or lower jaw, was broken.
It only took one punch to break it, he said.
He also suffered abrasions to his hand and knee.
“They were three times my size,” said Angelo.
And there were two of them, he said.
After finding out his jaw was broken, Michelle called her boss, Dr. Jonathan Kameros, an oral surgeon also affiliated with Long Island Jewish (LIJ).
“We didn’t know if he was going to have permanent nerve damage,” said Michelle.
After more tests and X-rays, the surgery to wire Angelo’s jaw shut was scheduled for Sunday, April 19.
When he woke up that morning, he was still bleeding.
“In addition to the break itself, a nerve was rubbing,” she said. “There was a lot of pressure and he was in a lot of pain.”
“Every time I swallowed I had pain,” he said.
The surgery took only one hour, but Michelle knew her son was in good hands.
Now his jaw is wired with stainless steel and Angelo can only have liquids – no solids at all.
“He has to drink breakfast, lunch and dinner through a straw,” said Michelle.
Even his pain medication and antibiotic are liquids.
Healing time is four to six weeks, during which the teen has to carry a pair of wire cutters in his pocket so that in case of a medical emergency EMTs can open his mouth.
But as though this were not enough, Angelo’s wires have to be adjusted, so “he will have to go back to the doctor every week,” said his mom.
In about two to three weeks, they will know if the surgery is working.
The 140-pound teen is expected to lose 10 pounds, said his parents.
In the meantime, Angelo, who is in middle school, cannot engage in physical activities and can have no contact to his face at all.
His parents, who blame themselves, have had just about enough, they said,
Though they both grew up in the Ozone Park/Woodhaven area, they are planning to move as soon as their children – Angelo, an 11-year-old sister and a nine-year-old brother, finish school for the year.
“This was it,” said Roy, who volunteers his time to help local youth. “I have to think of what’s more important.”
He continued, “I go to work, I pay my bills and support my family. Now we have to be prisoners in our own home. Our lives have been altered. Is this a way to live?”
As for the two suspects, Roy said, “I hope they are prosecuted as adults.”
If they are caught, he plans to be there every step of the way.
And Angelo plans to testify.
“Maybe we can help some other child,” said Michelle. “As a parent we know what this is like first hand.”
He told The Courier – and the police – that the suspects are 16 to 17 years old. One he described as Caucasian, the other Hispanic. One was wearing a white shirt, he said.
A youth officer at the 106th Precinct, when contacted, told The Courier that the incident “is being investigated. A detective is on the case.”
If you or someone you know has any information as to this case, contact the 106th Precinct at 718-845-2211.