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Detroit leaders decry beating of driver who hit, tried to aid boy

By Kevin Murphy

(Reuters) - Detroit's mayor and city council president on Friday called for calm and condemned the severe beating that bystanders gave to a motorist who stopped to help a 10-year-old boy he had struck with his vehicle.

Steven Utash, 54, who was surrounded by a group and beaten on Wednesday afternoon, remained in critical condition on Friday in a Detroit hospital, police said. The child he hit, David Harris, was released from a hospital on Thursday, they said.

"This senseless vigilante-style attack is not the essence of who we are as Detroiters and will not be tolerated," Mayor Mike Duggan and council President Brenda Jones said in a statement.

Police said Utash struck Harris as the boy stepped into traffic near a convenience store.

Utash did the right thing by stopping to aid him, the statement said.

"We are asking all metro Detroiters to demonstrate our true character by exercising calm and patience during this emotionally charged time," Duggan and Jones said in the statement.

No charges will be filed against Utash, Detroit police spokeswoman Jennifer Moreno said.

The attackers also stole Utash's wallet, money and credit cards, Moreno said.

Police, as well as Duggan and Jones, asked the public for help in identifying and locating anyone who took part in the beating.

Supporters of Utash, who is from the Detroit suburb of Roseville, have created a Facebook page to raise money for his hospital bills. The page says Utash has no insurance and his family needs help to pay his medical bills.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Dan Grebler)

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