Fort McCoy man charged with battering 81-year-old man in campground scuffle

Benjaman David Gore

A 39-year-old Fort McCoy man was charged with battering an 81-year-old man he says picked a fight with him over his political leanings.

Benjaman David Gore was charged with battery on a person 65 years of age or older after the incident, which happened Monday at the Lake Delancey Campground, 22180 NE 191st Lane.

Gore told a Marion County sheriff’s deputy that the victim was mad at him because he didn’t like that Gore is a Republican. He said they were arguing when he walked from his campsite to the victim’s campsite and told the victim to “quit talking (expletive deleted).” Gore said the victim pulled a shotgun and that a common acquaintance who witnessed the incident pulled out a bowie knife, according to the sheriff’s office report.

Gore said he struck the victim with a folding table that was nearby and that was the end of the altercation. Gore had a small laceration on his arm that he said wasn’t related to the incident, the report said.

The victim said he was sitting at his campsite with the witness when Gore came to his campsite yelling, “You didn’t have to get me beer.” The victim explained that two days earlier, he had driven Gore to Palatka and paid for an 18-pack of beer. The victim believes Gore was mad that the victim paid for his beer. He described Gore’s emotions as unstable, according to the report.

The victim said Gore came up to him and started yelling in his face and grabbed his throat, making it difficult for him to breathe. The victim said Gore picked him up by the neck and threw him to the ground. He said he feared for his life, so he brandished a small pocketknife because he believed Gore was going to seriously hurt him, the report said.

The victim said Gore then struck him with a blue folding table, causing a laceration to his forehead. He said Gore threw him to the ground and choked him before the witness broke up the altercation, according to the report.

The witness told another deputy that he is an acquaintance of both Gore and the victim. He gave an account that was similar to the victim’s story. The witness said no firearms were brandished during the incident. He said Gore knows what the victim’s shotgun looks like because he saw it in the victim’s vehicle on the way to Palatka, and that Gore knows about his knife because they talked about it when they were camping about three weeks ago, the report said.

The deputy was able to determine the witness’s knife was in his camper about 150 yards away, and that the victim’s shotgun was locked inside his van and covered with clothes and other items. The deputy also observed the area where the victim said he was thrown to the ground and it appeared the sand was disturbed in a way consistent with a struggle, according to the report.

Gore, who is listed as a violent felony offender, was taken to the Marion County Jail, where he’s being held on $10,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in Marion County Court on Jan. 7.