​Richard Ojeda Brutally Attacked At Political Cookout For State Senate Seat

Richard Ojeda
Author: Michael StevensBy:
Staff Reporter
May. 10, 2016

Richard Ojeda, a war veteran running for a state senate seat on the Democratic ticket in West Virginia, was brutally beaten Sunday at a cookout, leaving him with several broken bones and in need of surgery. Ojeda is still in the trauma unit at CAMC General Hospital in Charleston and will have surgery later in the week.

Friends say he wants to get out campaigning again by next week. Jonathan Porter of the Whitman’s Creek area of Logan County has been arrested as the primary suspect in the incident, although no motive has been provided as of yet. He is facing three felony charges.

Ojeda’s sister, Kelly Ojeda, said they were all attending a political cookout Sunday in Logan County when the suspect asked Ojeda for a campaign bumper sticker. Witnesses said it was then that the suspect attacked the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran with brass knuckles, striking him eight or nine times, knocking him out.

Richard Ojeda said that he doesn’t remember much, only that he went to put the sticker on the suspect’s vehicle. Porter then allegedly got in his vehicle and attempted to run the war veteran over with it, but bystanders stood in the suspect’s way.

Police said that the suspect then fled the scene, hitting two ATVs that were blocking the road, one of which had a driver, who escaped injury. The suspect later turned himself in.

Ojeda is running against incumbent Art Kirkendoll in District 7. Some of the war veteran’s family members believe the attacks were politically motivated, but West Virginia State Police said that it too soon to know if the attack was politically motivated.

“I was informed that my opponent was physically assaulted and injured at a political function today. I do not now, nor have I ever, condoned violence. It has no place in our political campaigns or in our communities. My and my family’s thoughts and prayers are with my opponent and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery,” Kirkendoll said.

West Virginia Gubernatorial candidate, Booth Goodwin, also issued a statement in relation to the attack. “I am shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious attack on Richard Ojeta. My thoughts and prayers go out to Richard and his family. Richard served his country with honor and is seeking to continue his service to his state. Violence has no place anywhere in our political process.”

Richard Ojeda suffered multiple fractures and lacerations and severe swelling to his head and face, according to investigating officer Trooper Z. Holden with the West Virginia State Police Logan Detachment. Troopers arrested Porter about 6:30 p.m. Sunday. He is being held pending three charges and will be booked in the Southwestern Regional Jail.

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