Teen with autism recovers after being attacked in East Nashville by group of boys

Local News

A teen is recovering after being attacked in East Nashville by a group of young boys.  

It happened in the middle of the day Friday while Gavin Tyler was going for a run.  

His mother Penny described the attack on her teenage son as bold and brazen. She told News 2 her 16-year-old, who is visiting Nashville for his summer break, has high functioning autism and ADHD, which made it difficult for Gavin to articulate what happened right way.  

“I do a lot of free running, parkour I just enjoy running around the city, just enjoying the sights, sounds, people,” Gavin told News 2.  

It was around 1:45 p.m. Friday, near Sixth and Sylvan Street when Gavin noticed a group of young boys taunting him.  

“They looked a bit menacing, so they looked like they were up to no good,” he recalled. 

Gavin picked up his pace, but the group of boys soon caught up and one of them struck him in the back of his head. Gavin said he tried to run away but decided to stop fearful they may have a weapon. 

“I just stood there and took the punches. It was a battle of wit in my case. I did tell them to stop and I said I didn’t do anything to you and they just kept punching,” he said.   

Gavin said he was hit six more times in the face and told to give up his cell phone and wallet or else. 

“They were saying I’ll go get a .45 caliber and I’ll pop you or I’ll stick you with a knife,” he explained.  

Gavin said they took his cell phone and the boys took off. On his walk home, a neighbor stopped and called the teens mom to the scene.  

“It was terrifying to see him hurt,” said Penny.  

They went to a pediatrician who advised they go to a hospital with concerns of a concussion and a fractured face. In the end, Gavin received several stitches to his lip.  

“It could have been a much different story. We are very fortunate and blessed, but I do want parents to know that it’s important to know where your kids are at all times. I wonder about where are their parents, do their parents even know this happened,” she said. “For him to come home for the summer break and this happens it really breaks my heart.”  

Her son has a different outlook on the bullies, “Maybe their parents didn’t have a job or maybe they didn’t have parents at all or maybe their parents didn’t pay attention to them, all of that stuff could have been a possibility so as a result, I don’t resent them for what they did.” 

Less than 48 hours later the family was hit by another act of crime. Click here to read that story.  

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