Police have arrested a homeless man who they alleged knocked down and injured a 7-year-old girl in a random attack in Staten Island, New York.
The alleged attack occurred about 1:40 p.m. Monday as the girl was walking with her sister and her 41-year-old mother in the town of New Dorp. They say the man knocked the girl to the ground in an unprovoked attack.
According to Staten Island Live, a witness said that the man followed after the mother and her two daughters as they sought help.
“And he was following them,” the witness said, “but he was walking fast, not running.”
The witness says the man fled after the mother and child, which they described as “hysterical,” knocked at the doors of nearby homes.
The girl suffered minor injuries, including lacerations to her knees, but she and her mother denied medical attention.
Homeless man arrested
On Thursday, police arrested Vondell Cox, a homeless man. The suspect was arrested within 12 hours of the police releasing a photo from a surveillance video related to the assault.
They provided a bizarre explanation for the alleged attack.
“He didn’t like the way the mom looked at him,” said a police source to the New York Post. “That’s why he did that to the kid.”
Police charged him with assault, harassment and endangering the welfare of a child.
A growing problem
Increasing homelessness has become a crisis in many states, but it became especially acute in nearby New York City where lawmakers have been heavily criticized for their inability to address the problem.
In October 2018, hundreds of homeless people and homeless advocates protested at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. They demanded that the city provide thousands of homeless shelters in addition to the 15,000 units that they had planned.
In July, a Presbyterian church in Hell’s Kitchen made headlines because they were forced to barricade the front steps and make their attendees enter through a side entrance in order to dissuade the homeless from defecating there and leaving used needles.
Here’s more about the Staten Island attack:
Man Accused Of Pushing Little Girl