NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. — The talk of North Tonawanda is a social media video of a group assault on a 14-year-old girl.
In the 80-second video posted to a number of platforms, you can see the attackers on the North Tonawanda High School football field on Wednesday afternoon taking turns shoving the victim, tackling her and pulling her to the ground.
The victim was also kicked in the head and there were more than a dozen punches and slaps to her head and face. At some point, someone poured urine on the defenseless girl.
As horrible as this was, the assault was abruptly ended when two members of the high school wrestling team saw the melee and immediately decided to end it.
Anthony Swan and Simon Griskonis happened to be at the field that afternoon to work out.
“Someone said, ‘Hey, look at that.’ And we looked up and saw there was a fight, and we didn’t realize how bad it was,” Swan said.
But it quickly became apparent to the two the nature of the relentless assault and both ran toward it. Griskonis approached the attackers.
“I kinda told them to leave and to get out here, and kinda like walked them away from the field,” Griskonis said.
Swan gathered up the victim and walked her to safety. It was clear the girl was shaken.
“She just looked so defeated and so upset with everything that happened,” says Swan.
The young victim suffered bruises and a concussion and is recovering at home.
But had the attack not been stopped, it could have been worse. That’s what Swan and Griskonis did. They stopped it.
Did either of them know the victim?
Griskonis: “Never met her before.”
Swan: “You just do what you gotta do. It’s just something a civil person would do, knowing right from wrong.”
The girl's parents released the following statement on Saturday.
“This is the most painful thing I’ve ever had to write... On July 1, 2020, our daughter was the victim of an assault in North Tonawanda. She was attacked and humiliated in front of a dozen other kids by three girls...dragged by her hair, punched and kicked repeatedly in the head as well as having urine poured on her. This whole time, she never once tried to fight...she continually tried to walk away. As many stood and watched, only two courageous, outstanding young men stepped in to help, Anthony and Simon. These boys did not know our daughter, they just knew she was in trouble, and they took action. I can’t think of where we might be today had they not stopped this heinous assault on our sweet child. This being said, we cannot find enough words to praise and thank not only Anthony and Simon, but their parents, for raising young men with such courage, love and just basic human decency...Thank you.
"The way our community has rallied around...the kind words, the gifts, the donations, and all the assurances that she is not alone and is very much loved, has been overwhelming. All the beautiful words of comfort and encouragement have brought a smile to her face. She has loved reading the messages of love and kindness....so again, we thank you all.
"Most of all, it is our fondest wish this horrible and senseless act can turn into a positive for others, not only in our community, but for all these kids who suffer from bullying and attacks every day. Take the example of these young men, and rise above the bullies... show love and kindness, not hate.
"We thank each and every one of our family and friends, for their amazing support and love. We thank our community and all the others who have rallied up to take a stand. Most of all, we thank Anthony and Simon. Without their help, I shudder to think of where we could be today. She is here. She is strong. She is still smiling. Thank you.”