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NYPD Hate Crime Unit Investigating Central Park Attack

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating an assault that happened in Central Park last Monday.

According to police, a 36-year-old woman was assaulted while exiting the park near 60th Street and West Drive around midnight.

CBS 2’s Don Champion spoke exclusively with the victim, who didn’t want to show her face.

Detectives say she was shot in the back of the head with a BB gun.

“I immediately put my hand to the back of my head and there was blood everywhere and I turned around and I said, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing? What did you do to me?” she said.

What they said to her next, she says, was a mix of expletives, and “white people should die.”

She said she is still struggling to make sense of what happened to her.

“I didn’t make extreme eye contact. There was nothing said,” she said. “I don’t understand, I don’t understand at all.”

The victim spent the night in the hospital where doctors told her it’s too dangerous to remove the BB that’s now lodged in the soft tissue of her head, Champion reported.

“They physically have marked me, if you will. It’s possible, maybe in the future that they’ll remove it,” she said.

The victim says she’s now afraid of people coming up behind her and loud noises.

“I also have to pray for those people because where did they learn that kind of hatred?” she said.

Police sketch of one of five wanted in connection with Central Park attack on Aug. 23, 2014 (Credit: NYPD)

Police sketch of one of five wanted in connection with Central Park attack on Aug. 23, 2014 (Credit: NYPD)

Police described the suspects as between 15 and 20 years old and all wearing dark-colored clothing.

The attack has shocked some joggers and put some on high alert.

“It brings concerns. There should be more park rangers protecting runners,” jogger Sujeiry Corniel told CBS 2’s Don Champion.

“I don’t feel afraid. The park has made a lot of progress, especially in recent years. I think it’s an outlier incident and I’m not concerned—sad it happened, but not afraid about it,” Matthew McCown said.

Anyone with information regarding the attack is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

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