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Teen Charged in Assault of Detroit Man in Coma

A Detroit teenager was charged on Monday afternoon with beating a man who accidentally hit a 10-year-old boy with his pickup truck Wednesday, officials said.

Bruce Edward Wimbush Jr., 17, is charged with assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to do great bodily harm for the attack on 54-year-old Steve Utash, according to a statement from the 36th District Court in Detroit.

Wimbush will be arraigned on Tuesday morning, according to the statement.

“The facts of this case are unbelievably tragic. We have charged this defendant with a capital offense," said Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy in the statement.

Police and prosecutors said they are “widening the scope” of their investigations to include the possibility that the mob assault was a hate crime, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Monday.

Craig said the beating of Utash was not an act of vigilantism.

"There's absolutely nothing in our investigation to show this was vigilantism," Craig said. "(Utash) did not break the law, so there was no vigilantism involved, as has been put out there. What happened to that man was tragic, and should not have happened.”

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The 10-year-old boy who stepped off the curb and into the path of Utash's truck suffered a broken leg and was released from the hospital on Thursday, Detroit Police Officer Jennifer Moreno told NBC News on Friday.

Utash is still in a coma and in critical condition, according to WDIV. His family has set up a fund for his medical bills.

Between 10 and 12 males — believed to be juveniles — attacked Utash, even though he "had no chance of stopping," to avoid hitting the boy, Moreno said.

A 16-year-old male was also arrested on Saturday in connection with the attack, but he has not yet been charged, Worthy said. The "investigation is continuing and widening."

Utash "had done the right thing by stopping to check on the boy," Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. "This senseless vigilante style attack is not the essence of who we are as Detroiters."

— Elisha Fieldstadt

Image: Steve Utash, center
Steve Utash, center, was attacked by about a dozen bystanders, according to police. Utash hit a boy while driving his truck, but stopped and went to check on the boy when he was attacked, according to a witness. Courtesy Utash family