MOUNT DORA, Fla. – Three teenagers who were burglarizing cars in Mount Dora early Sunday morning beat a man with a baseball bat when he tried to stop them, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies arrived at the scene near the 2300 block of Northland Road around 4 a.m. after receiving several calls about car burglaries and a fight in the street, deputies said.
Upon their arrival, they found William Pelkey, 46, lying on the ground in a pool of blood, deputies said. Pelkey took a baseball bat with him as he confronted the three juveniles accused of burglarizing cars outside his home, deputies said.
Deputies said the accused burglars, Wesley Carslon , 16, Chase Wood, 16, and Lauryn Eubanks, 14, got the bat away from Pelkey and hit him with it.
"Breaking into cars that is one thing ... but just to look at how quickly this series of events turned south, it's really, really shocking and now they are in a new world of hurt," Lt. John Herrell said.
Herrell also said the teens taunted the victim's wife and showed no remorse.
"Apparently as (the suspects) were running by, (the wife) was running by and she made some comment like 'Hey, I'm calling 911,' and they sarcastically said, 'That's good because (you) are going to need it,' referring to her husband lying back in the street," Herrell said.
Pelkey suffered multiple injuries, including broken bones in his arm, hand and face, deputies said. He was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition. He has had multiple surgeries and will need rehabilitation because of the extent of his injuries, family members said.
Friend and neighbor Brian Kinsey said Pelkey, who goes by the nickname Wink, is a kind, gentle man who would do anything to help his loved ones.
"He actually saved my life six years ago when I had a heart attack," Kinsey said. "He rushes me to the hospital and, this is the kind of guy he is, he's passing people on the right going 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' He gets me to the hospital on time and it saved my life, literally."
He said it's heartbreaking to see Pelkey's injuries and he's worried about how the broken bones will affect Pelkey's abilities to play keyboard and run his small business.
"Everyone is pulling together to help him out. We are setting up his house right now so he can come home," Kinsey said. "All the neighbors have been over to clean, straighten up and take care of the kid."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover Pelkey's medical expenses.
The three juveniles were taken into custody and charged with attempted murder, armed burglary and grand theft, the Sheriff's Office said.
All three teenagers were ordered by a Marion County judge Tuesday to remain in detention until their next hearing on April 13.