Monday, February 06, 2023
39.0°F

Broken jaw result of alleged punch

by David Cole
| April 10, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - It all started with one word. And it ended with one punch, allegedly. David Whitt, 19, spent Thursday night in the hospital with his jaw freshly broken in two places. The injury will require surgery. Whitt, an assistant scoutmaster, an Eagle Scout, and a North Idaho College student who also juggles two jobs, had been waiting for a friend to get a money order inside the Albertsons at 220 W. Ironwood Drive. It was mid-afternoon.

COEUR d'ALENE - It all started with one word. And it ended with one punch, allegedly.

David Whitt, 19, spent Thursday night in the hospital with his jaw freshly broken in two places. The injury will require surgery.

Whitt, an assistant scoutmaster, an Eagle Scout, and a North Idaho College student who also juggles two jobs, had been waiting for a friend to get a money order inside the Albertsons at 220 W. Ironwood Drive. It was mid-afternoon.

A man walked by Whitt, who was with two friends, and the man called Whitt a "fag," Whitt said.

Whitt followed the man just outside the store to see if the guy was speaking to him, he said. The man was with another man and a woman.

"Was that (word) directed toward me?" Whitt, of Coeur d'Alene, said he asked the man.

"Those were my first and last words to him," Whitt said Friday, speaking with his jaw wired shut. Talking, he said, makes it difficult to breathe.

Police aren't releasing details of the event, though there is an incident report. Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood said the department is investigating the incident and has identified a suspect.

The man became agitated when Whitt approached him outside, so Whitt decided to head back toward the door to return inside.

"I heard him say something else, but I couldn't hear what it was," Whitt said. The mumbled comment was enough to get Whitt to turn back around to the man. When he did that the man allegedly punched him in the jaw, which fractured on the side and at the chin.

"His right hand to my left side," Whitt said. "It all happened so fast."

Whitt said he thinks the guy might have made the initial comment based on Whitt's clothing, which Whitt described as "just business casual" or "well dressed."

Whitt said he's not gay, which caused him to question the man outside.

Whitt said he had never seen the guy before. Whitt's two friends, busy inside the whole time, didn't see him get punched.

"I want to hear his side," Whitt said. "I want to know why he did it. He must have had something else going on in his life to do this."

Mark Whitt, David's father, said store employees told the family that the whole incident was caught on videotape, and images of the suspect's face are visible. Next week, David Whitt is going to look at a suspect lineup, Mark Whitt said.

David Whitt described the man he claimed punched him as about six feet tall and stocky, and in his early 20s.

Mark Whitt, speaking of his son, said, "He's a kid that has given back to the community. He's a gifted teacher."

David Whitt has been a lifeguard and swim instructor. He spent two summers at a camp on Lake Coeur d'Alene as a sailboat and lifeguard instructor. David Whitt currently works at both a call center and a restaurant.

Mark Whitt said, "It's hard times right now" and money has been tight for his son.

"It's devastating not being able to talk like he normally does. He has to be able to talk to work where he does," Mark Whitt said.

He added, "He won't have a paycheck for six weeks. He'd been having a hard time making ends meet," until he got the new job at the call center, where he was just wrapping up his training.

Recent Headlines