NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Authorities say a City University of New York college professor was beaten by a group of teenagers when he tried to stop them from starting a fire.

The attack happened in Staten Island’s St. George neighborhood Wednesday evening.

Authorities say the professor, who teaches at CUNY St. George, was walking to a university event when he saw a group of teenagers setting paper on fire in a playground at Nicholas Lia Memorial Park off Richmond Terrace.

The professor was attacked by the teens when he told them to stop.

Witnesses said the group punched and kicked the victim for several minutes before leaving.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital.

The playground is the highest point in St. George with a beautiful view of the city, but it has become a hangout for teenagers all times of the day and night, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.

Parkgoers were concerned after hearing the news.

“It doesn’t matter where I’m at, it’s New York so you gotta watch yourself all the time,” one woman said.

“I don’t want to see people get harmed,” a man said.

“You don’t expect it in broad daylight,” said a teen who attends nearby Curtis High School.

Police are reviewing surveillance cameras from the area, looking to track down between 10 and 12 teenagers in connection with the incident.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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