TUCSON – On May 29 by Wheeler Elementary School near 22nd Street and Kolb Road, 18-year-old Lauren Tibbetts and 19-year-old Belle Koondz were viciously attacked by half a dozen teenagers. There were three boys and three girls.
“It was around 9:00 p.m. and we were skating on our longboards to go meet my friend who works at the Fry’s in the area,” said Lauren Tibbetts.
The group yelled something to the two girls to get their attention.
“I turned off my speakers so I could hear them better. They were saying “let us use your boards” and we said “no,” said Tibbetts.
They kept skating and when they rounded the corner by Wheeler Elementary School, the group caught up and surrounded them. One threw a piece of concrete at the two girls.
Koondz added, “It did miss us but there was clear intent it came ridiculously close to Lauren.”
Koondz said when she spoke, the group realized she was transgender.
“They were saying some very aggressive things, they used words I don’t wish to repeat,” said Koondz.
The group then reportedly attacked her.
“I got hit on my lower back, my shoulder, my neck, and my face quite a bit,” said Koondz.
Tibbetts was in front. She said she raised her skateboard to protect herself.
“Because I was trying to go back and try to protect her (Belle) because I’m not going to let one of my closest friends get beaten the hell out of for no reason,” Tibbetts said.
The group then turned their aggression on her, knocking her over and stomping on her. As Tibbetts was getting stomped on, so was her friend. She was covered in blood but tried to get her attackers off to help her friend. She said she bit one of them.
The girls said as they were being beaten, they heard their attackers laughing. Then from the darkness came bright headlights.
“As soon as the headlights hit them, they were almost immediately off of us and running down the road,” said Tibbetts. She reached for her phone to call her mother but realized someone had taken off with it.
Two women came to their rescue just in time. The women called 911 and helped the girls wipe the blood off.
Tibbetts reached for her phone to call her mother, but quickly realized it had been stolen.
One of the good Samaritans let her use her phone.
Bethany Walters is Lauren’s mother. She lives less than five minutes away from where the girls were beaten. When she got to the scene she said she remembers the girls covered in blood.
“The pain radiating from them through their eyes was so intense that it has affected me majorly.”
She called the teenagers who did this, monsters.
“I know they’re kids, but you don’t laugh at the people you are hurting, you don’t get joy from hurting someone if you aren’t monster,” said Walters.
The girls were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where they were told by medical staff there were previous attacks from that neighborhood that had come to the hospital. Their wounds are healing but the horror of what happened to them that night on that street still lingers
“You will not get away with this,” said Tibbetts.
The girls don’t know the names of their good Samaritans but they do want to say to them:
“Thank you for not letting us die,” said Tibbetts. “They saved us,” added Koondz.
Tucson Police Department said they are actively investigating the case and have assigned it to detectives who work gender bias cases.
If you have information about this attack, call 911 or 88-CRIME.