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Beating critically injures homeless man
News Staff Reporter
Andrew Dinsmore wasn't always homeless.

Just after graduating from Grand Island High School in 1980, Dinsmore ran a successful one-man window-washing company, with such clients as Crawdaddy's, Tops and Bells supermarkets, and the Holiday Inn. But the business fell apart after four years.

For the last 15 years, Dinsmore, 43, has been a transient, living mostly on Buffalo's often cold streets and moving among halfway houses.

Early Wednesday, he was attacked by a gang that bashed his head with a jagged piece of concrete and their fists. They tore off his trousers, underwear and jacket, then left him to die. Major Crimes Unit detectives say they believe that robbery might have been the motive.

Dinsmore - clad in only a T-shirt - was found lying on an East Side street.

"It's just disgusting and horrible," said his brother, Daniel, moments after visiting his younger brother in Erie County Medical Center. "His entire face is cut up. It's just a totally senseless beating."

Andrew Dinsmore was listed in stable but critical condition, and is expected to survive, police said.

Dinsmore, who has been living in the Buffalo City Mission, was attacked shortly after 1 a.m. on Glenwood Avenue, between Main Street and Michigan Avenue.

Hours later, he was attached to a ventilator and undergoing treatment in the medical center's trauma intensive care unit. His head and face were severely swollen and bruised, his brother said. His lower lip was partly severed and hanging; his face had broken bones; and his upper jaw was fractured.

His face was covered with slash wounds and had several penny-sized holes where chunks of flesh had been gouged out.

Doctors performed a CT scan, which showed no signs of internal injuries, said his brother, but doctors say they will have to wait to see if he suffered any brain damage.

Detectives say Andrew Dinsmore had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath when he was discovered.

"He was drunk, and he was unable to do anything," said his 44-year-old brother, who said Andrew Dinsmore had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1998.

"As soon as he drinks, it takes away from his medicine," the brother said.

"He's a nice guy, and he's harmless," he added. "If he has a few beers mixed with his medicine, he may say the wrong thing and do the wrong thing, but the only thing he's guilty of is being a nice guy."

Police said Dinsmore managed to tell them that three young men and a couple of girls beat him with a chunk of concrete, knocking him unconscious.

He eventually walked about two blocks, where police found him. Detectives said investigators found small chunks of the concrete and bloodied clothing at the scene. Business cards believed to be from Dinsmore's wallet also were strewn on the sidewalk.

"It was probably a street robbery gone bad, but until he's able to talk with us, we really don't know for sure," Detective Gary E. Teague said.

No arrests had been made, but detectives were trying to get a detailed description of the assailants. They urge anyone with information to call the Major Crimes Unit at 851-4511.

"How can people be so cruel?" asked Tony Barone, director of the men's ministry at the City Mission. "A life is so precious, but to these people a life is nothing."

Raised in a middle-class, two-parent home on Grand Island, Dinsmore operated a window-cleaning business that crumpled in 1984. At the time, family members attributed it to his alcohol problem, but his brother now says he believes paranoid schizophrenia was a factor.

A psychiatrist at Lake Shore Behavioral Health diagnosed the condition in 1998.

Family members say he fell through the cracks after government agencies for years shuffled him from one supervised facility to another.

Since April 8, Andrew Dinsmore had been living on and off in the City Mission.

"The system has failed him," said Daniel Dinsmore, who has had guardianship over his younger brother since soon after their parents died in the 1990s. "He needs to be in a supervised place with a strict curfew. I blame the state, county and the city, but it's a tough job because they're short-staffed and underfunded."

Family members said Dinsmore has disappeared a few times in his life - losing touch with his family for anywhere from six months to a year.

Daniel Dinsmore, who is a married father of two children from Grand Island, says he has spent many sleepless nights, driving around Buffalo looking for his brother. He has tried talking with him and encouraging him to leave the streets - countless times.