NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police arrested a man they say brutally attacked an elderly  woman during a home invasion in Brooklyn.

Investigators say 42-year-old Luis Hernandez, of Queens, was visiting friends inside a building on Ovington Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn on Saturday.

Neighbors say the victim, 70-year-old Marietta Blanchette, lives alone and often props open her front door. They suspect Hernandez saw the opening, and walked right in.

Shortly after 10:00 p.m, he pushed his way inside, locked the door behind him and told Blanchette he was “hiding from police,” sources said.

Police say he struck her in the face with a vase and smashed a mirror over her head, slashing her with the broken glass. A neighbor on the floor below heard the commotion and called 911.

“For the fact this neighbor stepped up to the plate, could have saved this lady’s life and probably did,” neighbor Debbie Stevens told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

When police arrived, they say they found the suspect still beating the 70-year-old woman. 

Blanchette’s neighbor tells 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern that he saw responding officers break down the victim’s door.

“I just saw them open the door, kicking the door,” he said.

Police say an officer applied a “quick-clot” medicated rag to the woman’s head and neck, potentially saving her life. She was taken to Lutheran Medical Center where she received 30 stitches and is currently stable.

Sources tell CBS2 police used a taser to subdue Hernandez.

He was taken into custody at the scene and has been charged with assault and burglary, according to sources. He admitted he was in the building, but denied the assault.

Blanchette, a native of Sweden, has lived in the apartment for decades. Neighbors said in days gone by many tenants left their front doors open, but added that no one should be that trusting anymore.


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