Saturday, July 6, 2013

UPDATE: Homeless Man Attacks Woman In Inwood Hill Park

"Help me, Help. Somebody help me."   -  Victim

A  park patron pins an "emotional disturbed person" to the ground who attacked a woman taking photos early this morning in Inwood Hill Park.  Bystanders came to aid of the victim after hearing repeated cries for help.  The woman suffered cuts to her face. The man was taken to North Bronx Hospital for psychiatric evaluation.


By Geoffrey Croft

A woman out taking photos in Inwood Hill Park early this morning was attacked by a homeless man and park patrons stepped in and apprehended the deranged man NYC Park Advocates has learned.

Bystanders heard the woman - who police described as in her 50's - crying out for help and came to her aid and held the man until police came. 

According to police a black male approached the woman and accused her of taking photos of him and demanded she delete the photos. When she informed him she did not taken photos of him he became irate and took a swipe at the camera knocking her to the ground.

She suffered lacerations to her face and was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.  

The assailant -  approximately 35-40-years-old was taken to North Bronx Hospital for psychiatric evaluation.

He has refused to identify himself to police.    

The incident occurred this morning at 8:00am on the northwest end of the baseball fields on the path heading toward the soccer fields.

Area resident Connie Vasquez had just exited the dog run with her greyhound and some freinds when she heard a woman screaming,  "Help me, Help. Somebody help me."  

"At first,  we thought it was kids playing,  but because the woman kept yelling HELP ME,  we soon realized someone needed help," she said.

When she arrived eight people had him surrounded on the floor and a large man had his left foot on the alleged assailant's shoulder pinning him on the ground.

According to Ms. Vasquez, the woman's face was red and the victom said she may have been "hit in the face."  The woman who had a camera with her - said she was "just shaken up,'" but was not seriously hurt.  

The victim thanked park patrons for coming to help.

"Crime is an issue" said Ms. Vasquez who has lived in the area for six years and is member of the Northern Manhattan Civilian Observation Patrol (NMCOP),  overseen by the 34th Precinct.

She applauded her neighbors who got involved. 

"I love that about this neighborhood," she said.

"CUDOS to the neighborhood heroes. Several people interceded and one man had his foot on the would-be assailant. THIS is our Inwood at its very best: neighbors looking out for each other and taking action,"  she posted on Facebook. 

Several people posted comments and photos of the incident on Facebook. 

 Police and an ambulance at the scene early this morning in Inwood Hill Park. 

Ms. Vasquez said the police responded with lighting speed. The first officer to arrive came in a small vehicle.

"I was flabbergasted how fast that golf cart with the officer came," she said. 

The NYPD were unable to provide details of this morning's incident at this time other than to say the man was removed to the hospital as an emotional disturbed person.  They added it was not a mugging.

We will update the story when additional information becomes available. 

"I hope this woman is okay," said Susan Ryan who has been raising the alarm for greater security and more maintenance in area parks after her husband was violently mugged in Isham Park last June.  

"This incident in broad daylight once again underscores the need for dedicated PEP officers and for security cameras in Inwood Hill Park.  Inwood's beautiful parks are woefully neglected because Inwood is a poor community of color and because every elected official who represents Inwood ignores their constituents when it comes to the issue of Park Safety.  The 34th Precinct's manpower is already stretched thin to begin with.  In addition, the 34th Precinct has more parkland than any other precinct in Manhattan except for Central Park which has it's own police precinct. Central Park also has 31 security cameras.  Seems like the wealthy get more resources for Park Safety.  Not only is this totally unacceptable, it's a violation of our civil rights.  What do our elected officials do about it?  Nothing."

"There's nowhere near enough park workers or park enforcement," added Connie Vasquez, a sentiment shared by many in the community. 

"It's bedlam up here in the summer in Inwood Hill Park on the weekends.  It's disgusting.  The coolers with alcohol with start arriving by 10am.  You can smell the pot, and people leave garbage everywhere. No one cleans up and no one seems to be doing anything about it, " she said. 

Read More:

Woman Attacked While Taking Pictures In Inwood Hill Park Police

WCBS - July 6, 2013 


  1. I grew up in Marble Hill in the 1950's !!! Unfortunately, NYC has gone Down Hill for over 4 decades !!! Can't understand why law biding decent citizens, still live there. Let the Criminals and the Politicians have NYC all to themselves !!!

    1. I cannot believe I'm reading this comment above? Can you imagine the cowardly mentality that would run from his or her neighborhood and 'let the criminals and politicians have' it? Thanks G-d most people do not think like this individual and, please, we beg you, don't ever even think of visiting here, much less, even think of returning to live here?!! We don't need or want your ilk ... and another indication of your cowardness is the use of 'Anonymous' to not identify yourself!#@

  2. Former Inwood ResidentJuly 7, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    I lived in Inwood for 34 years; escaped in early 2001. Inwood is not Utopia. Many people who have moved in the past ten years or so seem to feel that it is such a safe, bucolic place to live. Ever walk in the Park on weekends? There is a certain element that feels it is acceptable to have BBQs and picnic without cleaning up, music blaring with no regard for others, double- and triple parking at times. Granted it is a NYC park and though you should enjoy it without the threat of being attacked, but again... it is a NYC park. Keep your guard up. This poor woman did nothing to deserve what she got, but for all the "newbie residents"- expect the unexpected. Just my $.02

  3. I am the victim referred to in this story. First of all, I want to thank from the bottom of my heart all those who came to my aid, including the young woman who first called 911 and the men who rushed to the scene and worked quickly and bravely to get this person off of me. During the attack, in the back of my mind, I knew I would be helped because I had been in the park for over an hour and had seen all the other park-goers and knew they'd hear my cries and come to my aid. So, again, my sincere thanks to my rescuers, NYPD, FDNY and the Parks officials. Second though, I have been an Inwood resident for 10 years and a Manhattan resident for close to 30 years. I am all too well aware of what this city is all about, the good, the bad and the ugly. I am ALWAYS aware of my surroundings and on that day throughout the morning I was surrounded by people walking their dogs, joggers and parents with children. This was a mentally ill man (full wool scarf around his head in 90 degree weather) who I did see walking on one path as I walked up another. But in mere seconds he had moved swiftly right toward me and made a direct attack. There was NO conversation beforehand. The only reason I knew his motive was that as he was attacking, grabbing and yanking at me and finally shoving me to ground, he kept repeating "delete those pictures, delete those pictures". Of course, at no time had I ever even pointed the camera in his direction. He was situated up on the ridge by the northern-most ballfield and I was walking up the path toward the dog run. We weren't even in proximity to each other when he got up and made his very fast approach toward me. Remember, stuff like this happens in seconds and you have to take stuff you read on the internet with a grain of salt and there were definitely inaccuracies in the media reports of this incident. This, unfortunately, was the result of a failing mental health system and was a random incident that might have happened to anyone carrying a camera as this obviously triggered the man's extreme paranoia. So, I just wanted to clear up those details, but more importantly, wanted a venue through which to thank those that helped me.

    1. So glad you're okay. And yes, we are a neighborhood concerned about each other. I don't fault the mental healthy system as much as I do the New York City Police who treat these deranged people as if they're normal when they're camped out at bus shelters, subway station platform benches, urinating in public elevators, making veiled threats at strangers, touching people they don't know ... NYC Police see this sort of activity on a daily basis yet do nothing to question or take such individuals into custody for processing as what they are: criminals. Let the shrinks figure it out later but for G-d Sake take this human jetsam and lock it up!