According to investigators, 52-year-old David Gotshall suffered numerous fractures to his face, head and back on Friday when he was beaten, kicked and attacked by 34-year-old John Angelillo.
Authorities said the two have had verbal altercations in the past, but it’s unclear what prompted Friday’s violent assault.
Sheriff’s agents were patrolling the area when they saw a man holding a bloody hammer and Gotshall lying on the ground, Florida Today reported
The agents provided medical care to Gotshall and detained the suspect until police arrived. The veteran was then airlifted to Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center, where he is now fighting for his life.
Angelillo has been charged with attempted first-degree murder in connection to the crime. Officials said the suspect was arrested in 2009 on a marijuana charge, Brevard Times reported.
According to state records, Gotshell also had a run-in with the law when he was arrested in 2011 on a battery charge.
Gotshall’s friends said that the veteran who served in Desert Storm has been living on the streets, moving from one homeless camp to the next, as he struggled to find stability in his life.
At around 6:40am on Friday, he was found bleeding behind a vacant business in the 3100 block of Garden Street in Titusville.
Brevard County sheriff’s agents Ernest Cathy and Mike Traylor had been patrolling the area when they came across a man with a bloody hammer in his hand. They pulled into the parking lot of the abandoned store and saw a second man on the ground, sheriff’s officials said.
George Taylor, president of the Titusville-based National Veterans Homeless Support, told Florida Today that Gotshall had been searching for another place to stay a week after city workers dismantled his previous camp.
Taylor said Gotshall worked with his group to repair wheelchairs, and was also employed from time to time as a mechanic at a nearby gas station.
‘He was really just trying to work. He was really trying to have a better life,’ Taylor said.