NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 62-year-old man has died after being attacked last week in Union Square, according to law enforcement sources.
Jeffrey Babbitt slipped into a coma and had been declared brain-dead at Bellevue Hospital after he was allegedly beaten by 31-year-old Lashawn Marten last week.
Babbitt died on Monday.
The retired train conductor was walking near the chess boards in Union Square at around 3 p.m. Wednesday when Marten allegedly said he would punch “the next white person” he saw, and began attacking people.
“He said ‘the next white person who walks by I’m going to [expletive],’” one woman said. “His fist went in and the man’s head bobbed and he hit the ground and you could hear his skull hitting the ground.”
Witnesses said Marten then hit two more people before demanding to see police officers. He remained at the scene until police arrived.
Because of Marten’s alleged comments about targeting white people, the incident could result in hate crime charges in addition to felony assault charges, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Charges are expected to be upgraded, 1010 WINS reported. Marten is scheduled to be in court on Tuesday.
Babbitt shared a Sheepshead Bay apartment with his 92-year-old mother. He was her primary caregiver.
Friends told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez that Babbitt’s mother, Lucille, remained by his side until he died.
“She stood up in that hospital from the time Jeffrey was admitted. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday sleeping on the couch up there. I called her on the phone and said ‘Lu come home,’ and she said ‘I’m not leaving my son,'” Robert Pizzimenti said.
Babbitt’s death rocked his neighborhood, where residents described him as a good, helpful soul.
“He’s very good guy. He’s very helpful to all the people. He never say no if somebody ask him for the help,” Vladmir Krasmov said.
A note on an elevator in Babbitt’s apartment building announced his death. The note also said, “Jeffrey was a kind & gentle soul. May he rest in peace.”
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