SALEM, Mass. (WHDH) -
A decorated Vietnam War veteran had just finished his coffee when he was sucker punched by a stranger.
The man told 7News he saw a child all alone and was only trying to help when someone violently attacked him.
“Right out of the clear it was, he sucker punch cold cocked me,” Robert Sherry said.
Sherry says he was just trying to help a young boy when he was hit and suffered a black eye and other minor injuries.
“I felt obligated to do it just out of a common decency for the child and then all hell broke loose,” Sherry said.
Sherry, a decorated Army veteran, has seen it all.
It was Wednesday afternoon when he saw the child alone in a stroller outside his neighborhood Dunkin Donuts.
“He was sitting on a concrete step up by door and he could have easily rolled back and a car could have hit him, it was very busy at the time,” Sherry said.
Sherry went inside to find the boy’s parents, and that’s when the chaos started.
“I barely get inside and these two girls are there and they're screaming at me ‘what are you doing talking to that little boy.’ Next thing I know out of nowhere this guy cold cocks me. He just continued to come at me and punch at me,” Sherry said.
Salem police arrested 22-year-old Steven Thackery, a friend of the child's parents.
Command Sgt. Major Sherry said he thinks the young man needs help more than jail time.
“He needs some discipline he certainly needs some anger management and he certainly needs some counseling. I’d definitely like to see him get 200 hours of community service doing something right.”
Thackery wasn’t able to make bail and spent the night in jail.