Police are investigating after a stranger allegedly approached an elderly woman sitting on the front stoop of her Brooklyn home, threw her to the ground and tried to strangle her with his sweatshirt, police say.
The 88-year-old victim, Barije Mati, was sitting in a lawn chair in front of her Kensington home on Saturday afternoon when the suspect approached her and tried talking to her, her son Luftim Mati told reporters Monday.
"She got up, she got scared. She grabs the chair and tried to take the chair home," Mati said. "Next thing, he grabs the chair from her and throws it on the floor."
As the elderly woman went to go back into her building, the suspect pushed her up the steps and onto the landing leading to the apartments on the first floor, according to her son, who is also the building superintendent.
Once on the landing, the suspect allegedly grabbed the woman and pushed her back into her apartment, where the door was open.
Barije Mati's daughter-in-law heard her screaming from next door, rushed to the apartment and found the suspect on top of the woman, allegedly trying to choke her with a red hooded sweatshirt, her son and police said.
"She screams, 'What are you doing?' and starts hitting him with the broomstick," said Mati, and the suspect took off.
Barije was treated for bruises and released from Maimonides Hospital. She said in her native Albanian that she's shocked and scared, and that she "can't stand still, she's so frightened," according to her son, who translated for her.
"She didn't come out all day," said Mati, who sat with his mother in their lawn chairs in front of their home Monday evening. "Now she came out because she saw me."
The great-grandmother was in tears as she said to her son, "Why did it happen to me?"
The victim said that if her daughter-in-law did not come, "she would have been dead," said Mati.
Police said the woman did not know her alleged attacker. Nothing was stolen from her, and a motive remains unclear.
Anyone with information about the attack is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.
-- Checkey Beckford contributed to this report