KENNER – A 16-year-old is accused of striking an 89-year-old man and his 70-year-old wife with a hammer causing severe injuries that left both of them in critical condition Monday.
Police believe the teenager was arrested the night before the incident for shoplifting at a local store and that a confrontation with his father led him to the nearby Teton Street residence of Phillip and Anita Lynch, where an argument ensued and ended with the attack.
Police said the suspect knew the couple.
Officers learned about the attack when 70-year-old Anita Lynch, who was covered in blood, went to a neighbor's house and asked them to call 911 to get help for her and her 89-year-old husband, said Lt. Brian McGregor, a Kenner Police Department spokesman.
The suspect, identified by the victim’s family as Jake Randazzo, is facing two counts of attempted first-degree murder along with aggravated burglary and theft of a motor vehicle charges after he allegedly stole the couple’s vehicle and crashed it in Baton Rouge.
In an unusual twist of fate, Kenner Police were actually at the crime scene when Baton Rouge Police called the home to report the stolen vehicle to the couple.
“We took the suspect’s father with us to Baton Rouge because he was cooperating with the investigation,” McGregor said. “The juvenile admitted to striking the elderly couple in the head with a hammer.”
Police found a hammer covered with blood and hair in the victim's' home.
Phillip and Anita Lynch both have fractured skulls and their injuries are life-threatening, according to police.
“He can’t walk, so I imagine the attack took place while he was in his scooter or his wheelchair,” said Phillip Lynch Jr., the victim’s son. “Anita came to defend him and she was attacked as well.”
Phillip Lynch Jr. said his father was in surgery Monday morning since his skull had collapsed and that his mother had similar injuries to her skull and one of her fingers was nearly severed as well.
Police did not give a motive for the attack, but McGregor said the teen told them he was going to the home to ask for a ride and that Lynch accused him of stealing a gun from him in the past.
“He had been there before,” said Lynch Jr. “He had done some chores. I would imagine he was no stranger.”
Despite the heinous nature of the attack and the fact that the couple has serious medical issues, the younger Lynch said he isn’t angry.
“I don’t have any animosity towards him or his family,” he said. “I know his family is going through an equal amount of torment right now and I just pray for them. This boy needs help. He needs help from Jesus Christ.”
Meanwhile, the crime has stunned their Kenner neighborhood. Councilman Dominick Impastato lives nearby.
“The same person who committed this violent criminal act has spent almost every day within 30 feet of my wife, my three young children. To say that our community is in a bit of fear and shock right now is an understatement to say the least,” Impastato said.
Lynch Jr. said his father is in a coma and his father’s wife has been in and out of one since the attack.