A newspaper photographer who returned safely from such flashpoints as Panama, Haiti and Somalia was in serious condition Tuesday after he was savagely beaten while taking pictures of some kids.
John Trotter, 36, a photographer for The Sacramento Bee, had been photographing children frolicking in record high temperatures Monday when a group of eight to 12 men demanded his film and began beating him.
Trotter suffered serious head injuries and was hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.
“It looks like he wandered into a drug neighborhood, and for whatever reason, those people involved in that sort of activity didn’t want him being there,” said Sacramento police spokeswoman Pam Alejandre.
No arrests had been made by late Tuesday.
“It is so sad and ironic that a photographer who is so gentle and sensitive as John should find himself a victim of such a vicious attack,” said The Sacramento Bee’s executive editor, Gregory Favre. “He has spent his career trying, through his work, to show the best in people.”
Residents of the neighborhood, Oak Park, said they suspected the assailants were afraid of having their pictures published because they feared being arrested for prior illegal activities.
“It shouldn’t have happened, that’s all there is to it,” said James Usher, 37, who lives a few houses away. “Man came out to do his job, and some people thought he was doing something else, they come up and beat him up without even asking what he was doing.”