DALLAS –– Police in Dallas asked the public for help finding a driver who fled the scene after hitting a 61-year-old man who fell into the roadway as he was beaten by at least three teens Saturday, said Maj. Jeff Cotner in a news conference Thursday afternoon.
According to police, a group ranging from six to eight young people were gathered outside an apartment complex in the 4700 block of Sunnyvale when they devised a plan to rob someone. Unfortunately, at that same moment, Sam Lee Morris was walking by the complex as he carried two bags of groceries on his way home, police said.
Cotner said the group began to pursue the victim.
"When I say pursued, they chased him and they swarmed him," he said.
Police said the teens continued to swing at the victim as he asked them why they were attacking him. The juveniles beat Morris so bad he couldn't see straight, Cotner said.
The Dallas major said Morris was struck by a vehicle after falling into the street while the teens attacked him. The victim was transported to Baylor Hospital, where he later died.
Cotner said Morris likely died from the injuries he sustained when he was struck by the vehicle. However, he said autopsy results are pending.
The children are all school-aged; the youngest is 10-years-old. Police arrested one 13-year-old and two 14-year-olds, who face capital murder charges.
Neighbors say they've been hesitant to walk at night because of the roaming groups of teenagers throughout the area.
"I only go in the day," said Jose Banda, a neighbor who lives a few homes from Morris and shops at the same store where the 61-year-old purchased the groceries he was taking home. "At night I won't go out because I'm afraid. I'm afraid someone is going to hit me in the back of the head."
The teenagers have been charged with capital murder, but under state law they're not eligible for the death penalty unless they are 16-years-old. Cotner described the crime as "senseless."
Police have asked that any potential witnesses to the crime come forward as they search for the driver involved in the accident and other witnesses who stopped and rendered aid to Morris. Anyone with information pertaining to the crime is asked to call Det. Derrick Barnes at 214-283-4818.
Crime Stoppers has offered $5,000 for any information leading to the arrest of the hit-and-run driver.
News 8's Rebecca Lopez contributed to this report.