Pizza delivery driver feared assailants would beat him to death

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - "I'm nervous to go back to work," said Mark Rice in a Labor Day interview.

Rice is deaf and delivers pizzas for a living. He talked with Eyewitness News using a sign language interpreter about the reason he's taken a few days off.

"The swellings gone down a little bit,” he said.

“If you were here two days ago you would have seen it all swollen up," Rice added.

The 35-year-old is talking about the injuries he got after he says two men jumped him while he was trying to deliver an order to 45th Street and Norwaldo Ave on Saturday night.

"They came from somewhere. I don't know and I have no idea where they came from," Rice said.

Rice explained he had just gone back to his car to check that he had the right address after no one answered at two doors where he knocked.

"I was walking my way to the car and one guy was walking right next to me. Then he grabbed the pizza and so I thought he wanted the pizza, so I went ahead and gave it to him," said Rice.

It became pretty clear though, said Rice, the men wanted more than pizza.

"The other guy grabbed my other arm and started hitting me," Rice explained, who says he got knocked to the ground but the men continued to punch and kick him.

"They just kept hitting me. I kept saying, ‘I'm deaf! I'm deaf!'" Rice remembered.

"I gave them the cash out of both my pockets and I thought they would leave it go, but they just kept on and on," he added.

“It's scary. I thought my life was over,” he said.

"I didn't know what they had. Were they going to beat me to death?" Rice said he asked himself.

They only stopped hitting him, said Rice, after he gave them his car keys.

Once he got his bearings, Rice walked to some nearby convenience stores to ask for help but said everyone ignored him.

He walked injured another 2-and-a-half miles to his workplace at the Pizza Hut at 62nd and Keystone, where he told his boss what happened and to call 911.

Six hours later, an automobile tracking system helped police find Rice’s car at a local gas station, where police say a 15-year-old who was with the car, was arrested for auto theft and operating without a license.

Rice hopes to be able to identify him as one of the people who attacked him.

"I'm angry because what's wrong with people? Why would they do that?” Rice asked.

“Just get a job or ask me for the money and I would have given it to you, but to beat me up? Why would you do that?" Rice said.

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