FORT WORTH — A Fort Worth Zoo security guard was assaulted Tuesday after trying to order four men reportedly harassing people just outside the zoo's perimeter to move along.
The attack occurred shortly after 1 p.m. in the 2600 block of Park Place Avenue.
The two Hispanic men and two black men, all believed to be about 17 to 20 years old, fled afterward and had not been apprehended as of Wednesday afternoon.
The 59-year-old guard told police that he had received a call that several young men were hanging out near the perimeter of the zoo, harassing people as they walked or drove by, according to Sgt. Pedro Criado, a police spokesman.
The guard said he arrived in the area and asked the men what they were doing, to which they replied that they were "just chilling."
The guard asked the men to move along, and the suspects began cursing and telling him to mind his own business, he told police. The guard told the men that if they did not leave, he would notify police.
The guard had moved his vehicle and was calling for additional security guards when one of the suspects began making an obscene hand gesture at him, then two suspects approached his vehicle and began banging on the windows, he said.
The guard stepped out of the vehicle and told the suspects several times to back away but the men continued to curse, yell and make derogatory statements at him, asking the guard "Whatcha' going to do?" he told police.
The guard said one of the suspects then swung at him and punched him. He said he grabbed the attacker by the throat when a second suspect punched him in the back of the head, causing him to fall to the ground. The guard said he sustained more blows before another guard arrived to assist.
A female then pulled up in a car, told the suspects to get inside, and they left, Criado said.
Zoo co-workers took the guard to the hospital for treatment of injuries that reportedly included scrapes, bruises, bumps and a possibly dislocated shoulder.
"I do know he was treated and released from the hospital and is fine," said Remekca Owens, a zoo spokeswoman.