Neighbors worried after man left critical

65-year-old found unconscious in front yard

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Besides the clanking of a flagpole and the chirping of the birds, the place where a man was attacked and nearly beaten to death Monday night is a fairly quiet neighborhood.

That's what makes what police said happened to 65-year-old Jerry Campbell even more alarming.

Neighbors say Campbell's girlfriend found him lying face down in the front yard of a home on South Gulf Road, unconscious in the grass in front of a red buggy, his prized possession.

According to a police report, Campbell had a broken nose and a possible head injury. He was rushed to a hospital in critical condition.

"It's scary, man. I am scared. That poor man doesn't mess with anybody," neighbor Alex Cobb said.

Neighbors say they didn't see what happened but are now worried. They say Campbell had lived there for decades and retired from the U.S. Navy.

"Everybody liked Jerry. He was real friendly. He would help you if he could," neighbor Don Cheney said.

Police say Campbell looked like he'd been attacked, but they didn't have many more details. They said there weren't any witnesses that they knew of, and they had no suspects.

"That's a good guy all around, no trouble, no nothing," Cobb said.

"I'm concerned. My wife goes out after dark and walks the dog, and now I'm thinking about using the backyard," Cheney said.

Channel 4 crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson said he hopes Campbell recovers, not only so he can be back with his family, but also so he can tell police what happened.

"Hopefully he can regain consciousness and cooperate, because he holds the key to what happened to him," Jefferson said. "And if he can regain consciousness and remember what happened, then the police can really proceed forward."

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