NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A young man remains on life support Thursday after a handball game in a Queens park ended in a violent attack and now police are searching for the suspect.
Police said 21-year-old John Pierre Villenueva cracked his skull when he was beaten up Wednesday evening in College Point Park. Officers found him unconscious on the ground when they arrived to the scene at College Point Boulevard and 14th Avenue.READ MORE: Bull That Escaped Long Island Farm Captured After 2 Months
“I don’t know, it’s really sad how this turned out,” the victim’s friend, Edwar Leal, told CBS2’s Esha Ray.
Leal, who wasn’t a close friend of the victim, knew Villenueva as a guy who loved playing handball.
“It’s crazy it’s still somebody you know,” he said. “I know him and he’s in the hospital and he might not live.”
According to police, Wednesday’s assault is the only crime that has been reported at College Point Park this year.
Linda Fernandez, who has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years, said there was once a petition to stop the park from being built at all. Residents were worried that it would attract unpleasant characters, Ray reported.READ MORE: Prosecution Continues Closing Arguments In R. Kelly Sex Trafficking Trial
“I think they were afraid there would be a lot of crowds and kids hanging out in the park,” she said.
But Fernandez said her daughter, now an adult, used to play at the park herself without any problems and some of the younger crowd don’t see it as a dangerous place.
Around the time of Wednesday’s attack, it would have been filled with young people playing ball, but residents say that’s about it.
“You know, kids are going to be kids but I’ve been here about six years and it’s never been an issue,” said resident Peter Phan.
Police are still unsure of why Villenueva was attacked in the first place. Investigators say the man they’re looking for is in his 20s, about 6-feet-tall, wearing blue jeans and a black shirt.MORE NEWS: School Bus Driver Suffers Apparent Medical Emergency, Crashes Into Golf Course In Belleville
Anyone with information is asked to call police.