NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police say a suspect has turned himself in for sucker-punching a man in the Bronx and leaving the victim unconscious in the street.
The entire incident was caught on surveillance video. It happened at the intersection of Aqueduct Avenue and Buchanan Place in University Heights on June 18. The victim was then robbed by another group of people following the attack.
The surveillance video shows two men approaching 37-year-old Fernando Levano in the street. That’s when police said one of the men punches Levano so hard, he drops to the ground unconscious.
Investigators say Luis Rivera surrendered to police Thursday afternoon in connection with the assault. The video also shows another person stealing Levano’s cell phone and other belongings after the attack.
Police said the man who threw the punch then returned and took cell phone photos of the victim lying in the street before both groups of people left the scene.
The victim’s sister, Cristina Zuniga, showed CBS2’s Clark Fouraker photos of her brother. She says he has a fractured skull and brain swelling. He’s unable to open his eyes or speak with his family.
“We don’t know how he’s going to react when he does get up. We hope he does get better,” she said. “I go every day since the first day I found out he was in the hospital and I’ve been there every day until he is over and I’m always going to be there until everything goes down, he gets justice.”
Neighbors describe Levano as a hard working father who had lived in the same area of the Bronx for more than 30 years.
“He’s not that kind of person,” said neighbor Gary Small. “That shouldn’t have happened to him.”
“I don’t know who did it and why they did it,” said neighbor Marita Frett. “I watched him grow up right here.”
Police said the Rivera and the other assault suspect were later caught on surveillance cameras on 183rd Street giving each other a high five.
“They think it was funny to go back and record him,” Zuniga said. “Why the people around him couldn’t call 911 to protect him? Right now he’s in ICU, critical condition. Don’t know if he’s going to survive.”
The family said a maintenance worker from a public school a couple blocks away eventually did call 911 and protected Levano from being hit by any cars.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.