A 16-year-old boy was hospitalized with facial injuries after he was beaten by a group of people in downtown Wichita on Wednesday night, police said.
The attack occurred in the 400 block of West Douglas at about 10 p.m., Wichita police Lt. Doug Nolte said. The boy recently ran away from state foster care custody.
Two men and two women, all in their 20s, beat the teen so badly he lost consciousness, Nolte said. He was taken to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis in serious condition, where an examination revealed he had suffered a broken orbital bone around his right eye.
The boy was wanting to leave the gang he was in, Nolte said, and his attackers were members of the same gang.
Lt. Scott Heimerman, head of the Wichita Police Department’s gang unit, said the incident may have been a “jump out,” where people who want to leave a gang are beaten as a form of departure ritual. But Heimerman said the case remains under investigation.
Gang members who have decided they want to leave that lifestyle can reach out to a number of people for assistance, Nolte said: counselors, therapists, parents – even police officers.
“There isn’t a police officer in the city of Wichita that wouldn’t extend a helping hand to someone wanting to get out of a gang,” Nolte said.