Ron Torncello admits he was on his cellphone while behind the wheel of his SUV the morning of April 30.
The 76-year-old Army veteran said he was talking with his disabled wife, making home-care arrangements with her.
But an unidentified man who apparently noticed Torncello on his phone didn’t like it.
As surveillance video shows, the man exited his vehicle in a CVS parking lot in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, approached Torncello’s open door, and punched him.
The man said, “You’re talking on your cellphone, and I’ve got you on video,” Torncello told San Diego’s KSWB-TV. “And I told him, ‘I don’t really care if you’ve got me on video or not.’” The vet also told the man to “get out of my face. Get out of the way,” he noted to KNSD-TV.
“And that’s when just hauled off and went … bang,” he told KSWB.
The punch from the man — described as white, at least 6 feet tall with a muscular build, and with a moustache and goatee — was so severe that Torncello needed two reconstructive surgeries to his face.
“I can’t see. I don’t have any feeling in my cheek. I can’t drive. I can’t do any of the things I did before,” he told KGTV-TV. Torncello told KNSD that he still has difficulty sleeping as well.
Police released details of the attack and the surveillance video Wednesday hoping they could help track down the suspect.
Torncello himself has upped the San Diego Crime Stoppers reward from $1,000 to $2,500.
“I thought anything that would catch this guy I support. I mean, this guy needs to be put away,” he said.
He added that “a big guy” stepped off the curb after the punch, got between Torncello and the attacker, and “chewed the guy out and chased him off” before he could get hurt any worse, KSWB reported.
In addition, the suspect — described as wearing a baseball hat with the letters “UFC” on the front and driving a newer, red SUV-style vehicle — actually encountered police as they pulled into the parking lot, telling them the location of the incident as if he were a witness…then slipped away, KNSD reported.
El Cajon police told TheBlaze Friday that the suspect in the attack has not been apprehended.
(H/T: New York Daily News)