John Hintz was walking home with his mother from a bowling alley Friday night when a teenager hit him in the head, knocking him to the sidewalk.
The 35-year-old cement mason now is on life support at Sacred Heart Medical Center. He’s listed in critical condition.
“It gets to my stomach every time I’m in that room, but I keep going back,” his mother, Jackie Ogle, said Monday evening. “We were up there at 5 this morning, because he wasn’t doing so good.”
Ogle bowls every Friday night in the Sparklers League at North Bowl, 125 W. Sinto. Last Friday, her son and his girlfriend stopped by the bowling alley.
“His girlfriend left,” Ogle said. “We decided to walk. He had had a few drinks, and we thought it would be better to walk than drive.”
They walked about two miles. As they walked north on Nevada, four teenagers approached from Courtland, Ogle said. They walked diagonally across the street, to confront the couple, about three blocks from Hintz’s home.
“One of the boys shoved my son,” Ogle said. “My son was going to say something. I said, ‘Honey, they’re not worth it.’ The other guy said, ‘Hey, leave him alone.”’
Instead, the boy hit Hintz in the head, Ogle said.
“He went down, and I heard his head hit the sidewalk,” she said. “There was a duplex there. I ran up to it, banged on the door and said: ‘Let me in. Call 911.”’
A passing motorist told police one of the youths kicked Hintz several times while he was down.
Ogle said she’s slept only about six hours since her son was taken to the hospital. Her daughter and two sons came to Spokane as soon as they heard.
Along with Hintz’s two daughters, they’re waiting for news, Ogle said.
“It’s going to be a long wait, the way the doctors talk,” she said.
Hintz has worked as a cement mason for 17 years, Ogle said. He likes to scuba dive, and he likes to buy antiques at auctions on Saturday nights. Hintz lives about five blocks from his mother.
“He’s into metal detecting,” Ogle said. “He’s found rings, coins, a lot of different things.”
The attack on Hintz was the second beating in a week that seriously injured someone. Another 35-year-old Spokane man still is in critical condition after being attacked Oct. 14 in the parking lot of Tidyman’s, 6401 N. Cedar Road.
“That’s two in seven days, for no big reason,” police spokesman Dick Cottam said. “They’re not connected. There just seems to be an increase in violent responses.”
The boys who attacked Hintz were described as white, in their midteens. They were dressed nicely, Ogle said. One wore a white nylon jacket and two wore oversized athletic jackets.
Passers-by followed the four as they ran toward Gonzaga Prep, but lost sight of them near Fairview and Perry.
If the three youths who didn’t strike Hintz remain silent, they’ll be accessories to a serious crime, Cottam said.
“Under the law, they’re equally guilty,” he said.
Both Cottam and Ogle said they hoped one of the three would come forward.
“I think one of those little kids has got a conscience,” Ogle said. “One said, ‘Hey, why don’t you leave him alone,’ or something like that. Somebody has got to have a conscience.”