Mother: “We Might Be Lucky Because He Didn’t Have A Knife, He Didn’t Hit Him With A Rock. He Didn’t Kill Him”

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Manhattan child recovering after police say a homeless man randomly attacked him. It happened while he was out with his grandmother on the west side.

The child, 7-year-old Yaromir Potapova, still smiles big but a closer look shows he’s missing one of his two adult front teeth, reports CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.

The NYPD says a homeless man knocked it out when he randomly punched him in the face.

“It’s like bothering me every single day,” said his mother, Valeriya Potapova. “He’s afraid to go to the park now. He’s stressed.”

Valeriya cannot even believe this happened to her son not far from their home in Hell’s Kitchen.

She says last Wednesday morning Yaromir was riding his scooter with his little sister and grandmother on the West Side Highway near 52nd Street.

Yaromir Potapova (credit: Valeriya Potapov)

He was a few feet ahead when she says he stopped to let them catch up but was suddenly attacked.

“A guy jumped out of a bench, hit him in the face,” said Valeriya. “He didn’t say anything, just hit him in the face and walk away.”

Police say witnesses saw it, and a state trooper nearby tussled with the suspect, identified as 67-year-old Ryan Fran, before arresting him.

CBS2 caught up with the Potapovas after a doctor’s appointment in Brooklyn.

Luckily, they say Yaromir wasn’t more seriously hurt.

His mom says he’s a sweet boy who has speech delays and autism.

She says all parents should think twice now and be careful where they go with their kids.

“It shouldn’t be like this, people with mental issues shouldn’t walk outside,” said Valeriya. “We might be lucky because he didn’t have a knife, he didn’t hit him with a rock. He didn’t kill him.”

The state trooper involved was not seriously hurt.

Police say Fran faces several charges, including assaulting a child under 11, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

He has not been arraigned yet. Investigators say he is still admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital.

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