"He held his own. That was four people, I don't care who you are" - Doc Hewett on Staff Sgt. Aparicio taking on four attackers
Tampa, Florida - The good people of Tampa Bay and beyond continue to donate to the cause in trying to help police catch the vicious attackers who beat a young soldier early Sunday morning.
Army Staff Sgt. Johnny Aparicio is seen on a neighbor's surveillance video being beaten by four unidentified men.
Photo Gallery: Soldier beaten and robbed in South Tampa
Now, the reward is more than $17,000 in the case. $10,000 has been donated by local law firm of Winters and Yonker. Local pastor Randy White has donated $5,000. A member of the military from Viriginia has donated $1,000. A citizen from New Jersey donated $250, and Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay typically donates $1,000 in cases.
10 News was the first station to talk one on one with Staff Sgt. Aparicio after he was viciously attacked in South Tampa while walking home when his car broke down.
The 24-year-old spoke with us briefly at his apartment, giving us a smile and telling us that he was going to MacDill to continue his recovery. He told us, "I'm sorry, I'm on my way back to the base."
Even in that short exchange, it was evident that this soldier is cordial and kind. Sgt. Aparicio has talked to his neighbors about the attack, joking with them about how when he watches the video, it looks a lot worse that it really was.
All of it was caught on a neighbor's surveillance camera, including newly released video showing the seconds after the attack.
"He held his own. That was four people, I don't care who you are. I've worked with Navy SEALs, and Marine Special Operations, and they'll tell you, there's not much you can do when you get sucker punched like that," said Doc Hewett.
Hewett was Special Ops in the Navy and works as a local consultant with law enforcement and military. His consulting company, RSKTKR, works to train officers and military. Hewett says business is booming, and he is more than happy to help.
Hewett and his Tampa Bay buddies, including many in local law enforcement, want to spend time with Sgt. Aparicio, offering him special ops training. One of them wants to donate a gun and training on how to use it.
Hewett said, "We wanna welcome him to Tampa the way it should have been done. "
It's clear that Sgt. Aparicio has touched hearts all over Tampa Bay and beyond.
The reward donations totaling more than $17,000, and the countless offers for furniture, dinners, and even just a friendly beer are showing just how good of a place Tampa Bay is and how much people here care.
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More than $16,000 to turn in thugs who beat soldier
Vicious attack on soldier caught on camera