Washington

Lakewood man wanted an Oreo Blizzard; he got randomly punched out instead

Garrett Harrell looks out at the area where he was punched while waiting for his order at a Lakewood Dairy Queen in late June and ended up in intensive care for a couple days. Harrell is hoping that the person who assaulted him will be arrested after telling his story on Tuesday.
Garrett Harrell looks out at the area where he was punched while waiting for his order at a Lakewood Dairy Queen in late June and ended up in intensive care for a couple days. Harrell is hoping that the person who assaulted him will be arrested after telling his story on Tuesday. lwong@thenewstribune.com

Garrett Harrell said he just wanted to know which Oreo Blizzards were his.

The 33-year-old Lakewood native said the next thing he knew after he regained consciousness, he was lying on the floor of a Lakewood Dairy Queen, employees on one side of him.

The man who punched him for no reason had left the restaurant with three teenage girls in a minivan, Harrell said.

The incident, which was captured on surveillance cameras at the Dairy Queen at 10104 S. Tacoma Way, happened about 9:50 p.m. June 28. It put Harrell in intensive care for two days.

“There were seven to 10 cups of ice cream on the counter,” Harrell said Monday. “I asked one of the employees whose ice cream was what.

“Before I end that sentence, I take a punch to the side of my head. It sends me across the lobby, I hit my head on something real good, then I black out.”

He had not interacted with the man who punched him before being hit, he said.

Police had sought the man, with little more to go on than the surveillance video and a description of him.

The man saw himself either on the news or on social media and had an attorney contact Pierce County prosecutors, Lakewood police spokesman Chris Lawler said Tuesday.

Prosecutors referred the attorney to a detective.

The attorney told police that his client would not give a statement, Lawler said. The detective is referring the case back to prosecutors.

After he was hit, Harrell was taken from St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma because of bleeding and swelling in his brain, he said.

He did not have to undergo surgery, but he said his recovery is slow.

The unemployed former small-business owner said he is struggling with severe headaches, blurry vision, difficulty reading and a poor attitude, calling it “the toughest recovery I’ve ever been through.”

Harrell is not driving yet, but his parents and siblings live nearby and have been taking him to his medical appointments.

He said he doesn’t understand why he was punched, and some of his memory of the event is hazy because of the trauma he suffered.

“After that assault, when I got up, I was so dazed and confused,” he said. “I don’t know if I picked the Blizzards up or I left without them. It was such a blur after that.

“Next thing I know, I’m in the hospital telling the nurses, doctors and police about it.”

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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