NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are looking for five men who they said were captured on cell phone video attacking a Bronx street vendor, leaving the 53-year-old victim in critical condition.
It happened around 2 p.m. Tuesday near the corner of East 149th Street and 3rd Avenue in the Mott Haven section.
The vendor, identified as Porso Souleyman, was selling goods on the street when police say a man walked up to his table, grabbed a purse and tried to leave without paying.
When Souleyman confronted him, the man returned the bag, got into a livery cab and threatened to come back with his friends.
Police said that’s exactly what he did, returning a short time later with four other men.
They attacked Souleyman and his brother, punching Souleyman and knocking him to the ground where he hit his head on the sidewalk, knocking him unconscious, police said.
Once on the ground, police said the men continued to assault him before fleeing southbound on 3rd Avenue.
Tyrone Taylor sells newspapers just across the street.
“It’s crazy, ridiculous,” he told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell. “I mean people out here, they do that to people all the time. It’s sad.”
The vicious confrontation was no surprise to Taylor and other vendors.
“You say something they don’t like, they want to jump you,” Taylor said.
“This is the South Bronx,” said vendor Nile Abreu. “Out here, anything can happen.”
Souleyman was rushed to Lincoln Hospital for emergency surgery. Police said he suffered a fractured skull with bleeding in the brain. He also sustained a broken jaw, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
Doctors say he remains in critical condition.
Meanwhile, his table Thursday was noticeably absent from the corner where he has sold goods for years.
“I hope they find the guys,” said resident Jamie Hacker. “No matter what the situation is, no one should get hurt like that or handled like that — no matter what.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.