NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Prayers are pouring in for a 6-year-old still in the hospital tonight after being viciously attacked by a homeless person in Queens Thursday.
It happened just before 5 p.m. and was unprovoked.
The boy was slammed into the ground in the driveway. His heartbroken father spoke with CBS2’s Lisa Rozner, telling her the boy is slowly recovering after being placed in intensive care with severe head trauma.
Police say the suspect – Laurance Gendreau – is emotionally disturbed. The 35-year-old faces multiple charges, including assault and harassment. Gendreau has a long criminal history, including a bench warrant out for his arrest.
“I don’t wish that upon anybody. It’s not normal,”the victim’s father Yaakov Portnoy told Rozner. Portnoy, of East Meadow, Long Island, is struggling to fathom that his son’s visit to his grandfather in Kew Gardens turned into a nightmare.
Just before 5 p.m., the 6-year-old, whose name we are withholding, was outside with his 10-year-old brother waiting for pizza, when police say Gendreau approached.
“I was told that he picked him up in the air and threw him down into the ground and he banged his head fairly badly,” said Portnoy. “He has two fractures in his skull, collapsed lung.”
Surveillance video show Gendreau shirtless walking two blocks away down Metropolitan Avenue. Trailing behind him is the boy’s grandfather, who was on the phone with 911. Moments later, police arrested Gendreau.
Police say earlier yesterday afternoon, Gendreau was on nearby Union Turnpike and Austin Street, where he allegedly snatched an iPad from an 87-year-old woman and ran off.
But records show Gendreau shouldn’t have been on the street at all. In January, he allegedly had an argument with employees at a Popeye’s restaurant on Lexington Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan and he threw a chair, inadvertently hitting a 72-year-old woman.
At the time, the judge determined he was not a flight risk, and he was released on his own recognizance. A bench warrant was issued in February when he didn’t show for his next court appearance.
There are three sealed arrests dating back to 2017 for criminal mischief and larceny.
Police sources told CBS2 has had at least 10 instances with the NYPD where he needed medical attention for issues.
As for victim of his latest incident, Portnoy says his mind is only on his son.
“If everyone can keep him in their prayers. Kindness and good deeds would be great. That’s all I can ask for,” Portnoy said.
Rozner asked what Portnoy’s message to parents is.
“Love them. That’s all. Make sure they know that you love them because you never know what could happen.”
Gendreau is still in the hospital where he’s being evaluated. He is expected to be charged with assault and grand larceny.
In light of this and last week’s fatal attack on homeless men in Chinatown, the mayor today announced a 30 day review of the city’s mental health services.