VALENCIA (CBSLA.com) — A Saugus man accused of decking an 71-year-old man who asked him to stop smoking appeared in court Tuesday and entered a plea of not guilty.

Tanner Smith, 18, was being represented by a court-appointed attorney when he was arraigned on charges of elder abuse and battery.

He is accused of punching a senior in the face Monday after the man asked a group of teenagers to stop smoking around children at a Valencia park, police said.

The incident at Valencia Glen Park in the 23700 block of Via Gavola happened about 2:15 p.m., sheriff’s spokeswoman Officer Shirley Miller said. After the incident, the teens fled the park and sheriff’s deputies began searching for them.

“Just a little disturbed, sad that that would happen. That the young man would choose to react that way,” said a Valencia resident.

The man who says he was punched used his cellphone to take pictures of the group so he could have evidence to give to police.

He managed to snap a few pictures before he says he was punched so hard he was knocked to the ground.

Investigators say they were able to arrest Smith based on the pictures the man provided.

Smith is expected back in court May 23.

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