NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Manhattan lawyer says she walks around in fear after she was randomly attacked by a stranger while on her lunch break.
The victim is a savvy New Yorker who’s lived in the city for over 30 years and works downtown. Even though she has street smarts, she says nobody could have seen the attack coming.
“I was shocked,” the victim, who was too terrified to reveal her identity, told CBS2’s Ali Bauman. “I was staring at her afterwards, shocked.”
Police are still searching for the women they say smacked her across the face with a metal box just before noon on May 31.
“I was walking back from a meeting and I saw a woman on the street that had her hand all the way back and I thought she was dancing,” the terrified victim said. “Instead, the next thing I knew she smashed my face with a metal box.”
The 57-year-old woman says she’d never seen the suspect before and has no idea why she singled her out on the busy sidewalk. The suspect ran off, leaving her helpless victim purple and swollen with bruises covering her face.
“I had a black, swollen eye, my face was double the size it is and my nose was all the way on the other side of my face,” the victim said. “I almost passed out but I said ‘keep it together’.”
Dispute her injuries and shaken nerves, the woman still went on to her figure skating performance the next weekend.
“My dad is a Holocaust survivor and the story of my program is all about love and peace,” the woman said. “I thought I’d go to the event because I wanted to show love wins over hate.”
As more time goes by without an arrest, the victim says she walks her daily commute in fear.
“This isn’t just something that’s happening, it’s not a freak accident,” she said. “I just really hope whoever did this gets the help they need and nobody else gets hit like this.”
The victim tells CBS2 before the attack she didn’t see the suspect making any kind of obvious scene to indicate she might be dangerous.
Security expert and former NYPD officer Manny Gomez says hot weather tends to bring out the homeless and emotionally disturbed and oftentimes, officers have their hands tied.
“If it doesn’t rise to the level of an actual crime they can’t arrest them and they can’t even really move them off the street because they have technically not broken any laws,” Gomez told CBS2.
To help reduce spikes in crime, the NYPD is launching its Summer All Out program, which will take about 300 officers from desk duty and put them on the streets in nine precincts.
“We police 365 days a year, whether its cold, hot, in between,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said. “The men and women of the NYPD are totally committed to keeping the city safe. Is it more difficult in the summer when it’s hot? Yeah… but this is part of policing. When people join the NYPD, they know at the time there will be great difficulties.”
The extra patrols will be joined by about 750 recruits graduating from the police academy this summer.
As for the random attack in Lower Manhattan, police say they’re looking for a woman in her 30s and are treating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74682). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.