CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — A 63-year-old man with plans to exercise was in a Crown Heights Park Tuesday morning when he was attacked with a brick in what police are investigating as a possible hate crime.
Abraham Gopin, 63, lost two front teeth, suffered a broken nose and lacerations to the face in the 7:40 a.m beating, officials said.
"Incidents such as this should not happen," Councilman Chaim Deutsch said. "No one deserves to go into a park to enjoy our outdoors only to leave in a stretcher."
Benny Friedman, the victim's son-in-law, shared a photo of the large brick online.
"This is a horrible traumatizing event for a family," he said. "Unfortunately these events are becoming more and more prevalent and happen more and more often."
At this point in 2018, there had been 90 incidents of anti semitic crime, Deutsch said. There have already been 146 incidents this year.
"From what I heard, he was yelling 'dirty Jew,' which makes it very painful," Friedman said about his father-in-law's attacker.
The victim exercised in Arthur S. Somers Park almost every day. He did not know the man who attacked him.
"He came to me, fighting with hands," Gopin said. "I was protecting myself. It was a fight for several minutes."
Gopin said the man who attacked him was "determined to kill, no question."
He's not going to let the beating stop him from going back.
"I believe he's going to continue living just the way he was," Friedman said. "He's a strong man and he'll be OK."
Mayor Bill de Blasio wished the victim a speedy recovery.
"The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating this despicable act of violence, and we will find the attacker," he said. "This city will stop at nothing to protect our communities from hate and violence."
Police described the attacker as being 6 feet tall and weighing around 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white tank top and black shorts.
The Anti-Defamation League has offered a reward for information leading to an arrest.
“We are alarmed and deeply concerned by this violent assault on an elderly Jewish man,” said ADL NY/NJ Regional Director Evan Bernstein. “The sheer brutally of this attack is beyond shocking and profoundly upsetting."
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).