Assistant city health commissioner Greg Sileo, oversees anti-violence programs, was assaulted in downtown Baltimore. Sileo, 33, was walking from a local restaurant when he was assaulted by a group of juveniles around 1 p.m. on Friday.
Sileo said he had lunch and was returning to work when he was approached by a “couple of young guys.” He was transported to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was treated for multiple facial fractures and later released.
“I think we need to look into what is causing people to engage in this kind of behavior,” Sileo said. “A couple of young guys stealing my cellphones and ending up in jail doesn’t seem to be worth it.”
Last year, Sileo ran for a South Baltimore City Council seat. He oversees the Safe Streets and Office of Youth Violence Prevention programs at the Health Department and is the president of the Locust Point Civic Association.
The only memories Sileo said he could recall was having lunch at Leinenkugel’s Beer Garden at Power Plant Live with co-workers and walking back to Redwood Street, where the Health Department is located.
This is his first time being a victim of a violent crime, Sileo said.
“Anytime you become a victim of violence, it changes your outlook,” Sileo said. “You don’t always recognize the impact it has. Having this perspective, while it wasn’t one I was looking for, puts it into perspective for me.”
In the last year, juveniles have assaulted two city officials, including Sileo.
In December, then-Baltimore Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector was assaulted by a 13- and 15- year in a parking garage in South Baltimore. The teens threw Spector to the ground, beat her and attempted to steal her vehicle. They were later arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault and attempted robbery.
In recent months, the city has been dealing with a surge of crimes involving juveniles.
Nearly a month ago, four teens were arrested for a carjacking in Homeland. The victim was a woman who was carrying her 7-week-old daughter.
Following the incident, police spokesman T.J. Smith said, “Once again, very disturbing that we are talking about children. It’s sad, it’s frustrating, it’s upsetting. We can’t underscore it enough that we are dealing with a lot of the same people who are in and out of the [criminal justice] system.”
In another incident that occurred last year involved an 11-year-old boy walking in proximity of the Patterson Park. Five juveniles stole his mobile phone and $6. That same day, several teenagers approached a man near the Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus. The 64-year-old man described the incident, saying he was reading a book, when the teens put a gun to his head, pepper sprayed and stabbed him and then stole his personal belongings.
Sileo is expected to make a full recovery.