A man is under arrest for allegedly breaking into a Long Island home and striking a sleeping 8-year-old girl over the head with a mop.
The girl's mother, Susan Nunez, told NBC 4 New York she heard a noise at her Westbury home around 1 a.m. Friday and went to investigate. In her kitchen, she found a man identified by police as 22-year-old Matthew Levine, who had apparently gotten in through the unlocked front door of the home.
"I said, 'what are you doing here?'" said Nunez. "He thought we were in his house."
Frightened, Nunez fled to a neighbor's home across the street. The neighbor, Daryl Ernest, recalled Nunez "yelling there was a man in the house and her daughter was still in the house."
He ran to the Nunez' home and found the door locked. Police said Levine had allegedly gone upstairs, then entered the child's bedroom where he struck her with a mop and removed a cell phone.
"I heard the girl yell, I heard him yelling upstairs," said Ernest. "I banged in the door with my right shoulder."
The one-time psychiatric nuse calmed Levine down until police arrived and took him into custody.
"To me, he looked really confused, paranoid and scared," said Ernest.
Levine's father told NBC 4 New York his son had simply gone to the wrong house, and that he'd intended to visit a friend's home before leaving for college.
His dad said Levine has had issues with drugs, but was not high when he broke into the Nunez' home.
Susan Nunez says her daughter, who suffered a minor head injury, is doing OK. She vows never to leave her door unlocked again.
Ernest insisted he's no hero: "If it was my grandchildren, I hope someone would do the same."
Levine was charged with burglary, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child. He remains behind bars on $100,000 bail.
His father insists the incident was just a mistake that will be cleared up.