A young boy is still fighting for his life in intensive care after being viciously attacked by a homeless man in Queens, New York just before 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Here’s what happened.
The 6-year-old was outside with his 10-year-old brother waiting for pizza, when police say 35-year-old Laurance Gendreau approached.
“I was told that he picked him up in the air and threw him down into the ground and he banged his head fairly badly,” said Yaakov Portnoy, the boy’s dad. “He has two fractures in his skull, collapsed lung.”
Police say Gendreau was then seen on surveillance video, shirtless, walking two blocks away down Metropolitan Avenue.
The boy’s grandfather was seen on the video trailing behind him, on the phone with 911.
Moments later, police arrested Gendreau, who is now facing multiple charges, including assault and harassment. And it’s not his first run in with the law. Gendreau is said to have a lengthy long criminal history, including a bench warrant out for his arrest.
“I don’t wish that upon anybody. It’s not normal,”the victim’s father Yaakov Portnoy told Rozner.
Portnoy is from East Meadow, Long Island. He said his boys were just there to visit their grandfather in Kew Gardens.
According to authorities, earlier in the afternoon Gendreau stole an iPad from an 87-year-old woman on nearby Union Turnpike and Austin Street and ran off.
And in January, police said he had an argument with employees at a Popeye’s restaurant on Lexington Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan and he threw a chair, hitting a 72-year-old woman.
The judge let him walk, saying he wasn’t a flight risk. He was released on his own recognizance, then didn’t show for his next court appearance. That was in February, and a bench warrant was then issued for his arrest.
It gets worse – there are three sealed arrests dating back to 2017 for criminal mischief and larceny, and now police tell media he has had at least 10 instances with the NYPD where he needed medical attention for issues.
Portnoy says his mind is only on his son.
“If everyone can keep him in their prayers. Kindness and good deeds would be great. That’s all I can ask for,” Portnoy said.
He has a message to other parents:
“Love them. That’s all. Make sure they know that you love them because you never know what could happen.”
Gendreau, who is still in the hospital where he’s being evaluated, is expected to be charged with assault and grand larceny.
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Earlier this week, police in New York arrested a suspect after they say he brutally beat four homeless men to death with a pipe late last Friday night, according to a report from NBC 4.
Police say they’ve taken the suspect into custody, but have not yet released their name. They did confirm, however, that all of the victims, as well as the suspect, are homeless.
The string of attacks were discovered after New York City police received a 911 call just before 2 a.m. on Saturday concerning an unconscious man who was bleeding from the head and lying in the street of a Chinatown neighborhood.
Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan South said that the man had “severe head trauma” when he police found him.
While the officers worked the scene, a second victim approached them, also showing signs that he was a victim of a serious beating.
He confirmed witness accounts that a man dressed in black pants and a black jacket had struck the victims in the head several times with a metal pipe before fleeing the scene, Hughes said.
The second victim was taken to a hospital in critical condition and is expected to survive his wounds, but police say the first victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
As members of the NYPD began canvassing the area, they quickly learned that the incident was not an isolated event.
They discovered that three other homeless men in the East Broadway area had been targeted in the vicious assaults, believed to have been sleeping when their assailant attacked them. All three showed consistency within their wounds, and all three were pronounced dead at the scene from their injuries.
As officers combed through the neighborhood, they located a 24-year-old man at the corner of Mulberry Street and Canal Street. Police say the suspect was carrying a metal pipe that was consistent with the the one described by witnesses.
At least 4 men, all believed to be homeless, were killed in Manhattan by an assailant who struck them with a metal object while they were sleeping early Saturday morning, a police spokesman said https://t.co/A9KYroKFJ6
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 5, 2019
NBC 4 said that the officers were able to take the suspect into custody without further incident. While they have yet to release his name, they say that he has a number of arrests for prior assaults, including one at a Brooklyn homeless shelter in May.
Police have said that the four victims, the injured man and the suspect are all without a permanent residence.
Deputy Chief Michael Baldassano said that it appeared that the attacks were random and that all of the victims had been sleeping when the suspect jumped them, but an investigation into the brutal assaults is ongoing.
Presidential hopeful Julian Castro took to Twitter to say the attacks were not random, but targeted our ‘most vulnerable’.
This attack is monstrous, but it was not random. It targeted the most vulnerable among us.
It is our failure to treat people experiencing homelessness with dignity that left these individuals vulnerable to such hateful violence. https://t.co/0gLAdHVIwd
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) October 5, 2019
- READ: FOOTBALL STAR BOOTED FROM THE TEAM AFTER VIDEO OF POLICE RUN-IN WENT VIRAL. ‘WHERE I’M FROM, WE SHOOT AT COPS’
Anyone with information about the attacks is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.