SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – A veteran living in Surfside says he was nearly beaten to death while trying to stop an argument.
Mike Rickrode loves playing the drums. He says he even toured twice with the Welsh rock band Badfinger.
Rickrode, who’s 60, also served in the U.S. Navy in the ’70s and ’80s in countries like Grenada and Croatia.
“I turned 18 at boot camp,” Rickrode said. “I did four years honorably. I served aboard amphibious assault commands.”
The man known as “Pops” moved from near Detroit to Surfside about six months ago, with his service dog Rambo always at his side. They go to the nearby Piggly Wiggly a lot, but when they were at the grocery store on Oct. 8, he says he saw Alundo Woodberry of Georgetown yelling at a woman in the parking lot.
Rickrode says he had to do something.
“This girl was in danger,” he said. “There was no doubt in my mind, had I left that young lady, something was going to escalate.”
Rickrode says after he told Woodberry to leave her alone, Woodberry attacked him, breaking his right hip, several other bones in his right leg and causing some upper body injuries.
“What made him feel like it was OK to do this to me?” asked Rickrode. “Was it my Navy hat? Was it my dog tags? What was it? I didn’t go through two shipboard fires to be the guy that walks away.”
Woodberry is charged with second-degree assault and battery. He was released from Horry County’s jail on $2,500 bail on Oct. 26. Court records say Woodberry pleaded guilty to two other assaults in Georgetown County in 2014 and 2015.
Rickrode, who also suffers from PTSD and some other medical issues related to his service, says it could take at least four months to recover from these latest injuries. His goal is to eventually play the drums at Surfside Christian Church when he recovers. He was given a card signed by Piggly Wiggly workers, along with a $50 gift card to the store.
Rickrode says he wanted to share his story to bring attention to domestic violence and veterans issues.
“People have to get involved more,” he said. “We’re not doing that anymore. We’re allowing this behavior to happen.”
Rickrode says his family is planning a golfing fundraiser to help pay his medical costs on Sunday, Dec. 15.
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