NEW STORY: Man tried to give sandwich to ‘I hate white people’ attacker before fatal punch: witnesses
On Wednesday, a man shouting that he “hated white people” punched victim Jeffrey Babbitt — who is white — in the face, witnesses said, causing him to fall and strike his head on the ground.
Lashawn Marten, 31, who is black, “made statements to the effect that I’m going to punch the first white man that I see,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.
After punching Babbitt, Marten allegedly attacked two other men who came to Babbitt’s aid, police said. Police were investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Paramedics took Babbitt to Bellevue Hospital, where he lapsed into a coma and was pronounced brain-dead by doctors.
Babbitt was a longtime resident of the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, where neighbors and friends were shocked by news of the assault. “Everybody’s broken up about this,” neighbor Audrey Feifer, 75, told Newsday . “If you had to go to the doctor or anywhere, he would take you.”
Babbitt reportedly lived with his 94-year-old mother Lucille, and was described by those who knew him as being ‘obsessed’ with trains and comic books.
Marten has been charged with second- and third-degree assault and will go before a grand jury Tuesday, the Manhattan D.A.’s office told PIX11 Monday.
Marten’s charges may be upgraded at that time.