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A girl traveling to New York City with her mother was punched in the head by an “emotionally disturbed” man in midtown Manhattan on Monday.
Yelena Contreras Molerio, 36, of Miami, was walking down the street with her 9-year-old daughter near Central Park when she was punched in the left side of the head.
The suspect was quickly apprehended after a veteran doorman who worked at the nearby Plaza Hotel detained Raheem Ramsarran, 27, and managed to hold him until police arrived.
The attack occurred on a warm, sunny spring morning around 11:20 am at the corner of Central Park South and Grand Army Plaza.
It is the latest attack in a series of random attacks against the New York public, whether in the city’s subway system or on the surface.
The doorman, Neil Johnson, 60, was working the front door of the famous luxury hotel when he heard the commotion and ran to the girl and her mother to help. He said the girl was clutching her head and was clearly in pain.
‘I saw the woman crying and they were running away from this guy and he was walking fast towards them. So I have to do something. I got between them and this crazy guy. And then another guy joined me, who apparently saw everything that happened. So we made sure this person couldn’t go,” he told the New York Post.
Johnson, who has worked at the hotel for 24 years, said he had not seen anything like the incident he witnessed on Monday.
There have always been fights and things like that, but nothing that disturbing. This was just off the charts as far as sanity goes,” he noted. ‘That girl is never going to want to come back to New York City again.’
Ramsarran was captured within 15 minutes of the alleged assault and is now in police custody.
“We saw a guy with a backpack and a red hoodie and a beige jacket yelling at people and people were literally running from him and he was like yelling,” Kimberly Thomas, 24, told the Post moments after the assault occurred.
‘I thought he was chasing someone. I didn’t know he hit someone,” she added.
Although there is no arrest record for Ramsarran, police were called to his Queens address in 2018 and 2019 for reports of an emotionally disturbed person.
On one of the occasions he said that he felt suicidal, that he was not taking medication and that he wanted to go to the hospital.
‘After he realized that he couldn’t go any further, we weren’t going to let him, he stood there and started yelling, ‘Where are the police? Where is the police? Johnson said.
Another nearby worker, Ahmed Ahmed, 41, who runs a food cart and was nearby when the attack occurred, said it seemed to him that the girl was pushed.
‘I saw this guy who had a bag and ran into a little girl. [I saw him] push the girl to the ground and then run.
Monday’s attack comes after a series of high-profile random attacks.
They include the brutal beating of a woman with a hammer by a homeless man in Queens and the smearing of feces on another woman in the Bronx, after which the alleged perpetrator, a violent criminal with a record of 44 arrests, was placed in custody. released without bail.
These incidents added to the murder of Asian woman Christina Yuna Lee, 25, who was followed to her apartment by another homeless man, Assamad Nash, 35, and stabbed to death in her own apartment. .
A month earlier, Michelle Go, 40, was waiting on the platform of the Times Square subway station and was killed when she was pushed onto the tracks.
The New York subway has been ground zero for the simmering crime wave after an alarming 73.3 percent rise in underground incidents, including 182 in February alone.
Hate crimes have also doubled since last year: attacks against Asians more than tripled and complaints against Jews increased 54 percent from the same period last year, from 134 to 207 incidents.
A recent poll found that nearly 75 percent of all New York City voters consider crime a “very serious” problem, the highest number since polling began in 1999.
The little silver lining for New York is that shootings were down slightly in February, down 1.3 percent from the same period in 2021.
“The men and women of the New York City Police Department are proactively addressing the root causes of criminal behavior,” Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said in a statement at the time.
“The NYPD will never back down, and the department has made too much progress over decades, and invested too much in the communities it serves, to go backwards by any measure. New Yorkers deserve better.
Many of New York City’s most recent violent crimes have been perpetrated by repeat offenders, a development that comes after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, 48, downgraded many felonies to misdemeanors.
Last month, the mayor announced that the NYPD would deploy an additional 1,000 officers and separate teams of health care workers to the city’s subway system to crack down on the influx of underground crime.
Raheem Ramsarran Quick and Facts
- Nine-year-old girl who was visiting Manhattan with her family was punched in the head in Midtown on Monday morning
- Girl was near Central Park when she was hit in an unprovoked attack
- She was treated for pain and swelling and has now returned home to Miami
- After walking off, Raheem Ramsarran, 27, was caught soon afterwards by police
- Ramsarran has no arrest record; described by police as ’emotionally disturbed’