Small business owner ‘distraught,’ says he was assaulted outside store
BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - The Butler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a small business owner claims he was assaulted right outside his store.
Matt Penick owns Tuscarora Moon in College Corner.
He says he was just outside the business around 5 p.m. Sunday when another man ran up to him and punched him multiple times.
Matt says he was rushed to the hospital and treated for a broken nose and other possible injuries.
He and his wife, Donna Penick, said the incident all came after they asked a neighboring tenant to tidy up his mess.
“He’d left a couple of batteries lying on the sidewalk,” said Matt. “The other guy he was talking to looks at him and says, ‘Who said that? Who said that to you?’ Then looks over at me and says, ‘Is this him?’ [The] guy just rushes me, gets first hit in, that’s where I’ve got three stitches, and after that, it was a matter of me trying to block myself. Falls back onto the concrete, and he just continues to hit.”
The couple says the attacker was a former customer who had since begun harassing them on social media and attacking them for their religious beliefs and support for the LGBTQ community.
“When we’d be going to pride, he’d put, puke,’” says Donna. “Just a lot of hate. I’m terrified. I’m really scared to go back.”
The couple says the incident has been scarring and leaves them heavy-hearted and blindsided, following the investments they’ve made in the community.
“We worked with the homeless too, like give them water or food and let them sit outside the door,” said Donna. “It’s not just about us. I’m a reverend, so we try to promote spirituality and things within the realm of light and love.”
Matt and Donna are hopeful they can continue to promote love and acceptance while sending a message that justice will be swift and they won’t be scared away.
“Things will be legal,” said the couple. “Things will be done, and justice will get its way. I will make sure of it. We’re here. We’re not moving and we’re stronger than you give us credit for. I might have bruises, cuts, and a broken tooth, but I’m stronger than that.”
The Butler County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation.
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