A Not-so-happy Fourth for Some Workers

08 Jul, 2021 Liz Carey


Worcester, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) – While most of the country was celebrating Independence Day this past weekend, a few employees were recovering in the hospital for work-related injuries. 

In Worcester, Massachusetts, a 17-year-old lifeguard was recovering from being stabbed and beaten over enforcing Bell Pond’s no drinking rule. 

Worcester police said they were called to Bell Pond around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday on reports of a group of males attacking a lifeguard. When they arrived, they found the teenaged lifeguard suffering from stab wounds. 

According to the officers’ preliminary investigation, the lifeguard told a group of male swimmers that they could not smoke or drink in the park, and that they would have to stop or be asked to leave. While several members of the group left, Worcester police said, “one person was verbally aggressive and threatening.” That male left the area but returned later with reinforcements.

The returning group attacked the lifeguard, police said, hitting him with a stick and stabbing him. 

"We're not happy. As a city, as a community, what happened here was uncalled for," Robert Antonelli Jr., assistant commissioner of the Worcester Parks & Recreation Department, told WCVB. "It's a simple request. It's a simple item, and they took it too far. We're not going to stand for it." 

The lifeguard reportedly had been on the job for a month, and had been following standard procedures, Antonelli said. 

Officers identified the suspect as Celestine Bigirimana, 22, and, after a foot pursuit, arrested him near the pond. Bigirimana was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, trespassing, resisting arrest and possession of an open container of alcohol. 

Three other males were detained as part of the investigation. Mohamed Abdullahi, 19, was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and disturbing the peace. A 17-year-old juvenile was also arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. 

A third male was arrested but was “released without charges when additional information was discovered,” police said.



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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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