Police have arrested a homeless man after they said he stabbed a woman and her three-year-old daughter in a violent episode at a Bronx apartment that neighbors claim ended with the man dangling the child over a fire escape as onlookers tried to help.
The man, 28-year-old Christian Valdez, knows the 37-year-old woman from church, and she has offered him a place to stay in the past. He went to the woman's Mott Haven apartment Wednesday around 7:30 p.m. looking for a place to stay, but she didn't let him in because she didn't want him there.
That is when authorities said Valdez busted through the apartment through the third-floor fire escape and attacked both the woman and the girl inside the home with a glass bottle. Police sources said Valdez might suffer from schizophrenia. He was taken to a hospital for a psych evaluation.
One neighbor told News 4 that she and others tried to help as the mother struggled with her attacker to protect her child, rushing into the apartment.
And at some point, the neighbor said, the man also dangled the child over the edge of the fire escape by her neck.
"I see him by the fire escape holding the baby by the neck and I heard a glass break," said witness Diana Ruiz. "When the glass broke, he just stabbed the lady."
"It was just so much blood all over the place," said friend Emily Desena. "She got stabbed in the stomach and the little girl, she got cut in the arm, but she would not let her daughter go for nothing in this world. He was up there trying to throw them off that fire escape, and she would not let go of her child."
Another neighbor told News 4 that he ran up the fire escape and bashed the man in the head with a lamp in order to stop the onslaught.
"I grabbed a vase, a big thing, and I hit him with it," said Rafael LaBron. "I threw it at him. And right there, we started struggling. Some other guys came, they grabbed the little girl through the back of the fire escape."
"He was trying to truly, truly kill the girl," he added. "It was chaos."
The mother suffered a severe stab wound to her stomach; the child had cuts on her arm. They were both taken to an area hospital.
Valdez is charged with assault, burglary, harassment and acting in a manor injurious to a child, according to police.