NEW: Ben Carson: Names of some victims of childhood violence are 'fictitious'
At the core of Ben Carson's narrative of spiritual redemption are his acts of violence as an angry young man
But nine friends, classmates and neighbors who grew up with Carson told CNN they have no memory of the anger or violence the candidate has described
Ben Carson, the soft-spoken, Yale-educated brain surgeon who has surged in the GOP presidential race, has written and spoken powerfully of divine intervention at several pivotal moments in his life.
At the core of his narrative of spiritual redemption are his acts of violence as an angry young man — stabbing, rock throwing, brick hurling and baseball bat beating — that preceded Carson’s sudden transformation into the composed figure who stands before voters today.
In his 1990 autobiography, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story,” Carson describes those acts as flowing from an uncontrollable “pathological temper.” The violent episodes he has detailed in his book, in public statements and in interviews, include punching a classmate in the face with his hand wrapped around a lock, leaving a bloody three-inch gash in the boy’s forehead; attempting to attack his own mother with a hammer following an argument over clothes; hurling a large rock at a boy, which broke the youth’s glasses and smashed his nose; and, finally, thrusting a knife at the belly of his friend with such force that the blade snapped when it luckily struck a belt buckle covered by the boy’s clothes.
“I was trying to kill somebody,” Carson said, describing the incident – which he has said occurred at age 14 in ninth grade – during a September forum at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.
But nine friends, classmates and neighbors who grew up with Carson told CNN they have no memory of the anger or violence the candidate has described.
That person is unrecognizable to those whom CNN interviewed, who knew him during those formative years.
All of the people interviewed expressed surprise about the incidents Carson has described. No one challenged the stories directly. Some of those interviewed expressed skepticism, but noted that they could not know what had happened behind closed doors.
Gerald Ware, a classmate at Southwestern High School said he was “shocked” to read about the violence in Carson’s book.
“I don’t know nothing about that,” said Ware, who still lives in southwestern Detroit. “It would have been all over the whole school.”
CNN was unable to independently confirm any of the incidents, which Carson said occurred when he was a juvenile.
Carson’s campaign adviser and business manager, Armstrong Williams, declined repeated requests by CNN to provide details about the history of violence Carson h