UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, The Bronx — It's bad enough that somebody randomly punched and knocked out a passerby in a crosswalk, but in addition, bystanders picked the pockets of the victim while he laid on the street unconscious, according to police.
Worse still, his alleged attacker was seen on surveillance video congratulating a possible accomplice, and then returning to the scene of the crime to take photos of the victim. Now, police say the attacker is under arrest, and questions remain about the acts of the onlookers.
Luis Rivera, 22, of the Bronx has been charged with assault, and is now in police custody, the NYPD has confirmed.
Detectives said that at 6:11 a.m., on Monday June 18th, a 37-year-old man was walking in the crosswalk on Buchanan Place at Aqueduct Avenue when two men, including Rivera, approached him.
Rivera punched the man in the head, hitting him so hard that the man fell backward into the intersection, and fractured his skull from the impact of the fall, according to police.
The two men walked away. The entire scene was captured on surveillance video of the intersection.
What's also seen in the video is even worse. Minutes after the attack, onlookers arrive. They see the man laid out, unconscious in the crosswalk. They removed his cellphone and his identification, police said.
A longtime resident who lives nearby, but did not want to give his name, said that he'd seen the surveillance video, and was disappointed.
"We definitely want to have a neighborhood where you can walk safely without the fear of something like this happening," the man told PIX11 News.
He said that safety in the neighborhood has improved over the last decade, but that the attack was a step in the wrong direction.
Meanwhile, other residents said that it not only showed the worst of the community, but the worst of human nature, as well.
"That that happened and other people didn't do anything about it," said Marcos Martinez, "yes, I'm not surprised."
The surveillance video goes on to show Rivera and the man who'd been with him at the time of the incident return to the scene minutes later, according to police. They said that Rivera took photos of the unconscious victim, and it's clear in the video.
Even more surveillance video, from a different camera, with higher resolution video, showed Rivera and the other man, after the attack, about a block away, police said. The two men are seen clearly congratulating each other over the beatdown.
Since the incident a week ago Monday, new details have emerged. Three onlookers approached the unconscious man in the minutes after he was rendered unconscious by the blow to the head. One of the onlookers, a child, is seen on surveillance video removing something from the man's pocket.
According to a neighbor who knows the child, the child removed the victim's identification in order to inform responding EMTs of the victim's identity. Another onlooker removed the victim's cellphone, according to investigators, but it's possible that that was in order to help identify the victim, as well.
The man was transported in critical condition to St. Barnabas Hospital.
Nobody else has been charged in the incident.