A yeshivah student in Crown Heights was brutally assaulted by two men as he was walking on President Street near Albany Avenue around midnight Monday night.
The victim, 22, was walking to his apartment from World Lubavitch Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway, when he felt like he was being followed and decided to try to cross the street. He then noticed that in addition to being followed, another person was coming towards him in the opposite direction.
When he attempted to turn around, he was grabbed, and the two assailants threw him against a car and began punching his face and body. The victim was holding an empty pushke, which was knocked from his hands and rolled under a car.
The victim yelled loudly, and the assailants momentarily stopped their assault; the victim then managed to break free and flee back toward Kingston Avenue.
The father of the victim told CrownHeights.info that “they didn’t demand anything from him; all they wanted was to hurt him, to take his life.” Fortunately, a police officer “who understood Hebrew, just happened to be passing by that intersection and saw my son running for his life.”
The officer confronted one of the two assailants nearby, who said that he was “just talking to a Jewish guy who tried to rob him,” when a Jewish woman who heard the cries for help came out of her home and yelled to the officers, “It’s him — he beat him up!”
The officers took the suspect into custody and called for other officers to pursue the second suspect, who was easily apprehended two blocks away, at Schenectady Avenue. Both suspects were in possession of knives, and one had a pipe wrench as well.
Upon reaching the yeshiva dormitory at 1414 President Street, the victim called Crown Heights Shomrim and informed them that he was attacked. Other patrolling Shomrim volunteers noted the police activity and the apprehension of the two individuals and realized that the two stories were related, and they reached out to the police and put them in touch with the victim and offered translation services.
The suspects have been identified as Justin George, 19, and Darren Morgan, 20. They were charged with robbery, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, criminal possession of a weapon and disorderly conduct.
“The police did a phenomenal job, but Officer Wanunu and his partner Officer Fahad deserve an extra mention,” said a Shomrim coordinator. “They displayed great instincts and took the time to listen to people that came to them with information and acted on it quickly, leading to the best possible outcome in this very bad situation.”