NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A homeless man is in custody, and a church employee is recovering after a brutal attack in Central Park.
At 79-years-young, Junka Hassegewa loves walking through the park. She stopped to take a picture around 5 p.m. Tuesday on the pedestrian bridge near 77th Street.
“I’m a park lover,” she said, speaking exclusively with CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
That’s when the churchgoing grandmother said she heard the angry ramblings of a strange man coming toward her.
“Talking, talking, yelling, yelling, yelling. He said, ‘no taking picture’ or something,” she said.
She said he tried to punch her just below the right eye, and she fell to the ground — too petrified to stand up.
“I was scared, I was scared, I was scared. I was sitting on the sidewalk until police come,” she said.
Police quickly arrested Gean Colin — 27 years Hassegewa’s junior.
The NYPD said as of April 9, crime in Central Park has doubled compared to last year.
Hassegewa said she feels no ill will towards the man, she feels for him.
“He’s not a normal guy, so I feel sorry for him,” she explained.
Now that her children are grown and she lives alone, Hassegewa said the walks through the park are her favorite part of the week. She doesn’t plan on stopping them anytime soon.