KAUFMAN, Texas - Police in Kaufman are looking for those who hurt a 92-year-old legally blind veteran while trying to vandalize his flags.
It happened last Tuesday in the 300 block of West Seago Street. The victim, Howard Banks, said he heard noises coming from near the flagpole in his front yard so he walked outside to find out what was going on.
"I try to salute my flag every morning," he said. "I come out, hold on to my railing and salute my flag."
Someone then pushed Banks from behind, causing him to fall to the ground. Others later found Banks on the ground, helped him up and called the police. Thankfully he suffered only minor injuries.
Banks says the vandals didn't touch his U.S. Marine Corps flag but did toss his 'God Pless All Police' sign across the yard.
He told responding officers that his flags have been vandalized in the past. Someone reportedly cut them down, shredded the American flag and threw the U.S. Marine flag in the ditch, but he never reported the crimes.
He is legally blind so he was not able to provide a good description of the suspects. He said he heard more than one person running away.
Banks, who was 18 when he enlisted in the armed forces and fought in the battle of Iwo Jima during WWII, is extremely protective of the American flag.
"It's the one thing I can cling to. Yet at my capacity, there's not much I can do. But I can honor our flag."
“We are doing everything in our power to find the suspects that committed this cowardly assault and bring them to justice,” the Kaufman Police Department said. “This gentleman is a hero to our officers and the city's residents should be extremely proud to have him as part of our community.”
Banks admits he'd like to apply his own brand of justice when the culprits are caught.
"If there's any way to catch them and was able to do so, I'd like to whoop them good with my crutch."
Anyone with information is asked to call the department at 972-932-3094. Kaufman County Crime Stoppers is also offering up to a $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anonymous tips are welcome at 877-847-7522.
Banks' family is now planning to install cameras around the house, police said.