CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn — The search is on for a teen who stalked, choked and beat up and stole groceries from a seventh grade girl in Coney Island. Before the attack could escalate, the girl took swift action against the young man doing her harm, by fighting back against him where he was most vulnerable.
Now, police seek the attacker, while his brave victim looks for a couple of good samaritans who came to the girl's aid seconds after she fought him off.
It all began around 4:30 p.m. on Monday outside of a McDonald's across the street from the Coney Island subway station on Stillwell Avenue. Keiri Quintero, 12, had just bought cilantro for her mom, and a chocolate cupcake for herself, at a market a few doors down, when the suspect, who she said is between 15 and 16 years old, approached her.
"He told me on the street, 'Are you cold?'" Quintero told PIX11 News in an interview. "I didn't say anything and he just kept following me."
She kept walking, trying to ignore him. But all of a sudden, when she walked by a concealed passageway about three-quarters of the way down the block, "His hand was around my neck," she said.
He'd come up from behind, and pulled her into the passageway between two buildings.
"In the hallway, he says, 'Give me what you got,'" she recounted. "I give him everything, and he starts taking off his jacket and I'm like, 'What you gonna do?'"
She said it was obvious that the situation was getting more threatening to her personal safety. "I kick his private part," she said.
She was on her back at the time, after he'd thrown her to the ground.
After taking the hit, the attacker ran. It caught the attention of two good Samaritans. "A lady from the window saw me," said Quintaro, "and [a] lady from the street. [She] said, 'What happened?'"
The latter passerby quickly found out what had gone on. She sent her husband looking for the assailant, to no avail, but she was able to drive the girl home safely.
Keiri's relieved mother asked that a message be conveyed to the two good samaritans.
"She felt grateful for the women helping my sister," her mother, Ana, said through her son's translation. The family immigrated to New York years ago from Mexico.
Police have made it very clear that they're out to track this suspect down. In the meantime, Quintero remains vigilant, but also, she said, she's "scared, that it will happen again."
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577.