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WWII Vet Who Was Mugged Heartened By Support From Community

Porter Cross, who suffered a hairline fracture to his jaw and other injuries when he was robbed by three men on July 30, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Porter Cross, who suffered a hairline fracture to his jaw and other injuries when he was robbed by three men on July 30, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Derrick Blakley Derrick Blakley
Derrick Blakley is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Just three days ago, he suffered a horrible beating, and the injuries World War II Navy veteran Porter B. Cross had suffered had confined him to bed.

But when CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley caught up with cross on Thursday, his spirits had been lifted by Chicago’s outpouring of love.

“I feel lucky to be here,” Cross said Thursday, his 88th birthday.

Cross was counting his blessings two days after he was beaten and left on the pavement, while walking home from playing the Lottery.

He said one of the robbers hit him with his cane.

The run-up to the attack was captured by a security camera on a nearby apartment building. The surveillance video shows Cross walking with his cane, and the three suspects approaching him, allegedly calling out for money.

Nardell Darling, a security guard with Marquette Park SSA, said “when he continued to ignore them … then they grabbed him, beat him, put him on the ground, and then started riffling through his pockets.

The robbers took Cross’ wallet, but it had no money in it. He had about $27 in cash in his pocket, but the robbers did not get that money.

Two men and a 15-year-old boy were arrested and charged with robbing Cross.

michael protho and rashon williams 0731 WWII Vet Who Was Mugged Heartened By Support From Community

Michael Protho, 17 (left), and Rashon Williams, 20 (right), are both accused of beating and robbing an 87-year-old World War II veteran in Chicago Lawn on July 30, 2012. A 15-year-old boy, not pictured, is also charged in the attack. (Credit: Chicago Police)

Rashon Williams, 20, of Calumet City, and Michael Protho, 17, of Hazel Crest, each have been charged with one count of felony robbery of a victim 60 years or older.

Williams and Protho were ordered held on $500,000 bond on Tuesday.

The 15-year-old who was arrested was charged as a juvenile with felony robbery.

As he mends, Cross said he feels pity, not anger, especially for the juvenile suspect.

“I would say to him, I’m sorry this happened to you. Now you got to pay the consequences,” he said.

Cross and his daughter said they have been heartened by Chicago’s outpouring of support since the attack.

He’s received several birthday balloons, a T-shirt from police detectives, and flowers from Ald. Lona Lane (18th)

“I’m not the first woman to give you flowers am I?” Lane said.

Cross said she was.

His daughter, Cynthia Steward-Jones, said, “There are some bad people, but there are more good people in this world than it is bad. But shame on you, bad people.”

Now, Cross is counting on plenty more birthdays ahead.

“I’m gonna stick around as long as I can,” he said.

A dentist is donating a set of new dentures for cross. His old ones were broken in the attack.

Veterans Administration doctors are replacing his hearing aid, which he also lost in the robbery.

When he went for a head-to toe checkup Wednesday at the V.A. hospital, doctors discovered another injury: a hairline fracture in his jaw. Fortunately, it wasn’t dislocated.

One thing’s certain: the robbers might have broken his jaw but they didn’t break his spirit.