Father, son say they were attacked by former Marine in Vernon - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Father, son say they were attacked by former Marine in Vernon

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The following photo of Tory Lussier was provided by the Vernon Police Department. The following photo of Tory Lussier was provided by the Vernon Police Department.

A former Marine accused of severely beating up a college basketball player in Rhode Island over the weekend was previously arrested for a fight involving a father and son. 

According to police, 24-year-old Tory Lussier of Vernon was arrested when Providence, RI, police came to town Wednesday.

Investigators believe Lussier sucker-punched Brown University basketball guard James Sharkey on a street in Providence early Sunday morning.

During the court arraignment Thursday, attorney Salvatore Bonanno said Lussier, who is a former Marine that served in Afghanistan, was defending another Marine who was being beaten up by three men, including Sharkey.

"He saw a friend of his on the ground being severely beaten and helped him," Bonanno said. "Isn't that what you want people to do?"

Arrest records show that Lussier was arrested for an assault last September in Vernon. He's accused of beating up an elderly man and knocking him unconscious after what may have been a road rage incident.

"My son was physically pulled from the vehicle, and they started pummeling him," said Frank Sutton.

Sutton said the attack on Sharkey "shouldn't have happened."

According to Sutton, he and his son were sitting in this car stopped at a red light in Vernon when Lussier and his brother pulled up in a pickup and started yelling obscenities at the father and son. 

"He called us skinheads and wanted to know what we were looking at," Sutton said recalling his attack.

Sutton said Lussier peeled off, and that's when he followed him. Both vehicles then ended up in a parking lot.

"I'm a 69-year-old. I'm not trying to get into a fight," he said. "I wanted to know why they were yelling obscenities."

However, a fight ensued and Sutton's son got attacked.

Sutton told Eyewitness News he went to help his son when the brothers started whaling on him. Sutton says that's the last thing he remembered when he woke up in intensive care two days later.

Lussier was arrested, along with Sutton's son, and the case has been continued ever since.

Bonanno said in court that Lussier has been undergoing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, but that he has not been officially diagnosed.

Lussier worked at the Ring of Champions boxing gym in Manchester as a fitness and cardio kickboxing instructor for the past few months, according to the facility's owner. 

"It was either self-defense or I don't know," said Ring of Champions Director Paul Cichon. "There's no way he would just walk up to somebody and hit him. That's out of the question."

Doctors put Sharkey in a medically induced coma to relieve the swelling in his brain.

"This victim has now taken a turn for the worst," said Charles Johnson, who is the prosecutor in the case.

Sharkey remains in critical condition and on a ventilator in Rhode Island.

"I am glad they made it, but we are pretty much focused on his recovery," said Denise Sharkey, who is the victim's mom. "It's hard mentally to think about anything else."

Lussier's bond was set at $500,000 and he was extradited to Rhode Island to face charges there.

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