FREEHOLD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Authorities in Monmouth County are calling a brutal beating of a man outside his Freehold home a random biased attack.
Members of the Freehold First Aid Squad were still in shock Thursday, saying it’s not often an emergency call is for one of their own.
“Co-workers I know had taken care of him,” Freehold EMS Deputy Chief Jeremy Hoffman told CBS2’s Meg Baker. “Very upset.”
Police said 55-year-old Jerry Wolkowitz is in critical condition after being attacked outside his apartment on Harding Road on May 1 around 7:15 a.m.
The prosecutor’s office is calling it a bias crime.
Jamil Hubbard, 25, of Sayerville, was charged with attempted murder after police said he approached Wolkowitz from behind, hitting him in his head and face, before dragging him into a back parking lot. Hubbard then allegedly drove his vehicle over Wolkowitz and stole the victim’s car.
Neighbors CBS2 spoke with said they worry about kids who often play in the parking lot.
Wolkowitz remains in a coma. His hips are shattered and his gallbladder had to be removed.
“How somebody could do that to a person. Our prayers are with him and we just hope that his suffering doesn’t last that long,” said Freehold EMS trustee Bill Madden.
Friends described Wolkowitz as a gentle soul who worked a few different jobs while volunteering for the First Aid Squad and taking care of his mother and father – both Holocaust survivors.
“All around great guy, always willing to help anybody who needed it,” Freehold EMS Assistant Secretary Sean Preston said.
“Every day we get to get on the truck together, ride together, see a lot of tragic things together. That’s why we continue to be as close as we are,” said Hoffman.
Hubbard, who is black, is also charged with first-degree bias intimidation. Police determined he targeted Wolkowitz because of his skin color, authorities said.
Prosecutors are fighting to have the suspect held without bail.