#VinnieStrong, Winston-Salem Comes Together to Support One of Our Own

by Chad Nance

Human beings are capable of terrible evil and the animal brutality that we are often forced to witness tries the soul. In the horrific case of the assault on Vinnie Mannino, Winston-Salem’s tight-knit downtown community is reeling, trying to figure out the hows and whys of this senseless brutality.

According to friends of Mr. Mannino’s he went downtown after work around 8:30pm on Monday night. It was something he’s been doing since the Pokemon Go App debuted. In fact, it was this game that had gotten Vinnie out of his house and onto the sidewalk- a personal change that has helped him lose about 40 pounds. Vinnie was seen downtown on Trade Street Monday night following his routine. He would not be seen again until 4:10am when he was found unconscious in the parking lot between Mary’s and Mission Pizza.

The man who found him, Jimmy Greer, was leaving work at a local bar and saw the victim lying on the ground. Mr. Greer called the police and waited for them to arrive. Vinnie had been beaten so badly about the head that Mr. Greer had no idea that he had just found a friend of his. He and Vinnie played Pokemon Go together on Trade Street and have known one another for some time.

As of this writing, Mr. Mannino has not been able to provide police with any information regarding who or why he was so viciously attacked. He is currently being cared for at Baptist Hospital. According to sources he has a broken orbital bone, two subdural hematomas, and multiple facial fractures.

from vinnie's facebook page

Vinnie Mannino’s friends describe him as a smart, opinionated, and kind man who has no concern for what other people thought of him. He is an unabashed”Nerd” who loves all things Pokemon, My Little Pony, Star Wars, Stranger Things, and other geek and counterculture properties. Politically he is not afraid to speak his mind, giving full throated support to both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in 2016. He has been a champion of diversity and social justice, unafraid to make his positions known publicly.

“Vinnie just owns everything about himself,” Greer said. It has been Pokemon Go that helped Vinnie lose weight and get out of the house more. “He’s been more active and more social,” Greer stated. “He is not a ‘socialite’ and kept to himself mainly.”

As often occurs when something terrible happens to a beloved member of a small community, there have been theories and accusations flying across social networking. Folks want some answers and some clues to understanding how these kinds of horrible things happen. CCD has looked into several theories and even a couple of individuals who have been suggested as suspects, but there is not enough corroborating, solid information to publish any new details or list suspects at this time. The WSPD continues to investigate the attack on Vinnie and asks that anyone with any information to please call Crimestoppers at 336/727-2800.

The known facts are few, but one thing is for sure- playing Pokemon Go didn’t lead to this assault. If anything, Pokemon Go has enriched Mr. Mannino’s life and provided him and others with an ever deeper sense of community. Sloan Johnson from the Pokemon Go Winston-Salem group posted a note from Vinnie’s brother on Thursday. It reads as follows:

“Hey everybody,
Vinnie is doing way better (even from yesterday evening). When we came in this morning, he was actually having breakfast. The nurse was feeding him pancakes, milk, and apple juice. He even said the apple juice was good.
He was cussing (a little bit– well, ok, normal for Vinnie Mannino), talking, asking questions, and actually just spontaneously telling mom and I that he loved us. There is no doubt that he is still in a lol of pain. Lots of, “F*ck! That hurts!” But, then again, that’s Vinnie.
He struggles with answering some questions. When he gets put on the spot, he seems to blank. But he definitely said, “Mom, that hurts.” “My back hurts.” “I love you, Paul,” and “Why am I here?”
I take all those things as a good sign.
He’s still in lots of pain, but they do wake him up every hour to check on him. As much as I wish they could just let him chill, I’m glad that they’re giving him the “intensive care” that he needs.
What else?
His cat, Spencer, has been rescued by a rag-tag crew of his World of Warcraft buddies. Nick, Aimee, and Rebecca. You guys are all-stars. I know Vinnie will be excited when he finds out that his cat is safe.
Mom and I have decided that we’re totally cool with visitors– and, no, you don’t have to just be family. WoW people, Pokemon Go people, Bronies, alike. We figure at the very least we’ll be able to be comfort to one another.
OK, cool. More later.
Pray for the bleeding in his brain and the swelling to go down. He will have another scan tomorrow to determine the progress there. But all of the interactive stuff that’s been going on has been a good sign.
An important note. There is an ongoing police investigation for who assaulted my brother. As his brother (and I’m also speaking on behalf of mom), you may think that you know who did it– but you don’t. Please let the cops do their jobs.
If you have real tips, talk to the cops.
But again, don’t ruin your life or someone else’s life by trying to take justice into your own hands.”

There are several events and fundraisers planned to honor and help out Vinnie. Saturday night, November 19 at 10:30pm Pokemon Go players will meet at the corner of 4th and Trade St. On November 27th Pokemon players are to meet at Winston Square Park and intend to walk Vinnie’s regular route.

Plans are currently underway for a December 4th event being held on Trade Street at the Silver Moon Saloon, Test Pattern, and Single Brothers. Pokemon lures will be running the length of Trade Street in Vinnie’s honor beginning at 4pm in the afternoon. There will be music and raffles, all in support of Vinnie and his family.

You can contribute directly to helping Vinnie at the following Go Fund Me site: https://www.gofundme.com/m7-relief-for-vinnie

At times like these we all have to come together and never give in to fear. However, CCD would like to ask our readers to please be careful out there. By all means keep playing Pokemon Go and hanging out downtown, just please look out for one another and stick together. There is evil in the world and the only way to truly combat it is by coming closer as a community and watching one another’s backs.

from vinnie's facebook page
from vinnie’s facebook page