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Mom speaking out after 16-year-old son beaten by group outside mall

A Windsor Police Service vehicle is shown in a file photo. (CBC News - image credit)
A Windsor Police Service vehicle is shown in a file photo. (CBC News - image credit)

It was supposed to be a simple night out at the mall with friends for one Windsor 16-year-old, a chance to build some independence and have some fun.

But by the end of the night he was in the hospital, and Windsor police are now investigating an assault and beating by a group of teens.

"My son was hanging out with some of his friends," the teen's mom told CBC News. "They went to McDonald's. His friends... caught a different bus, he was left by himself waiting for the next bus when he was approached by a group of kids.

CBC News has agreed not to name her to protect her son's identity.

She says her son, who has autism, was waiting at the bus stop when he was approached by a group of teens demanding to fight.

When her son brushed it off, she says he was told that if he didn't "co-operate, it's going to be worse."

"He tried to run, another group of kids who came from McDonald's stopped him, and then both groups just began attacking him."

She says her son got into the fetal position to protect his head, and as a result has a broken arm. But she says the family is thankful he doesn't have any brain injuries.

Video of alleged assault circulating on social media

"The police were contacted immediately," she said. "The bus driver called me. While my son was able to get up during the beating and run onto the bus, the bus driver locked the door and called 911."

Her son suffered a broken arm and will have a scar on his face: "Every time he looks in the mirror, he's going to be reminded of this," she said.

The teen's mom says she later became aware a video of the assault was circulating on social media, including Snapchat. It was shared with police, though she says she hasn't been able to watch the video but has heard there are about 17 teens in the video.

Windsor police confirmed they are investigating the incident and said a 16-year-old male was "assaulted by a group of unknown suspects at Devonshire Mall on the evening of March 9, 2024."

"The victim was admitted to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Investigators continue to pursue leads and identify suspects in this case," a spokesperson said.

Devonshire Mall did not immediately return a request for comment.

She says her son is now resting and recovering, but isn't able to be alone or take the bus alone.

Son taking boxing lessons to build self-esteem

She says her son didn't know all of the kids, but recognized a couple, and doesn't know why the fight started.

Her son recently started taking boxing classes, which was helping to build his self-esteem. When he insisted on taking the bus, she let him.

"I even drove out there to offer him a ride. But he's got this newfound sense of independence, taking the bus, and he was very adamant on taking the bus and I'm trying to help promote his independence," she said. "So I let him take the bus."

She described her son as a "kind, tenacious and outgoing" teen who is sometimes misunderstood by his peers because he is neurodivergent and a bit "socially awkward."

By speaking out, she's hoping to make other parents and the community aware. And she wants the kids who attacked her son to take accountability.

Mom wants teens to turn themselves in, 'begin to make better choices'

"I want them to feel remorse and just really deeply reflect on what they did in order to learn and grow and start to begin to make better choices," she said.

"I think it's important for people to know and I think that for other parents with kids on the spectrum that want to promote independence, I think it's going to be harder for them to feel comfortable with helping them develop independence for their children in the world like this."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Windsor police major crimes unit.