Train transient charged after attacking good Samaritan who brought him food

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, IL (KPLR) – A St. Clair County man who was reaching out to help the hungry is recovering from a severe beating after the sheriff said a homeless man turned on him.

The attack happened earlier this month, near McBride Avenue and Jesse Street under a train trestle along Route 3. The 38-year-old victim, who lives the area, was offering food to some transients when something went wrong and he was attacked.

Authorities said four men and one woman had ridden a freight train into the area.

The victim and the five transients met at a nearby convenience store. The victim returned later with food for the group.

The suspect, 36-year-old Joshua Turner, got into an argument with the victim. A fight ensued and the good Samaritan was left on the ground, suffering a brain injury and facial injuries. The victim was able to make it to a home down the street for help.

Turner was arrested days later and charged with one count of felony robbery and two counts of felony aggravated battery. His bond was set at $100,000. St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson said people need to be cautious when helping the homeless in a case like this.

said, “My advice would be to go through an organization, donate to an organization...like every year I’ll give money to my church and they can pick families to give a turkey,” he said. “…Go through an organization; don’t try do things one-on-one, it just doesn’t work that well anymore.”

The sheriff said the victim remains in critical condition nine days after the beating.

The sheriff said he doesn’t expect anyone else in the group will be charged. He described the railroad transients as tough people who ride the rails across the country.