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Police look for leads in November beating of homeless man

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010 | 3:31 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

James Paul Schmidt

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Lt. George Castro of Metro Police's Violent Crimes division speaks with the news media at 4750 W. Oakey Blvd. on Wednesday afternoon to discuss James Paul Schmidt, a homeless man who was beaten into a coma in November. Police have exhausted leads in the case and are hoping family or friends of Schmidt will step forward to help.

Metro Police said today they have exhausted all leads in searching for the person or persons who allegedly beat and robbed a homeless man in November.

On Nov. 30, 2009, at about 4:15 a.m., police found 60-year-old James Paul Schmidt in an alley east of Las Vegas and Oakey boulevards, behind Ted Wien’s Tire and Auto Center. Schmidt was found by a police K-9 unit that was investigating an unrelated robbery at a nearby ampm store, said Lt. George Castro with Metro’s Violent Crimes division.

Castro said Schmidt was homeless and had been living near the alley for some time.

Police said Schmidt appeared to have been the victim of a robbery and battery. Police originally said in a statement that Schmidt might have been trying to stop people who were drawing graffiti in the area before the assault occurred, but said this afternoon that the motive of the attack couldn't be confirmed.

Castro said it was unclear if Schmidt had been attacked by one person or a group. Police haven't found the weapon used in the attack and haven't been able to contact any of Schmidt’s next of kin to notify them.

Schmidt was taken to University Medical Center, where investigators had difficulty getting information from him because of a brain injury he suffered during the attack. At the time, Schmidt was wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt, police said.

Schmidt has been in a coma at UMC since the attack. If he dies, the case will become a homicide, police said.

Police were able to release a photo of Schmidt because he has a criminal record that consists of petty, misdemeanor offenses, police said. Because of the record, police also were able to identify Schmidt by his fingerprints.

“It is a sad thing that someone doesn’t step forward,” Castro said. Police are looking for “anyone to assist us.”

Metro Police are asking anyone with information about the incident call the Metro Police Violent Crimes section at 702-828-5634, or call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 to remain anonymous.

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