A 72-year-old man punched in the head in an apparent random assault in the West Village remains in the hospital with a large blood clot in his head and severe facial bruising but says he's not angry at his attackers.
The victim, Donald Lathrom, says he was returning home from a day in the park Monday, prepared to relax in his apartment.
"I was listening to music and thinking about my evening and I was 50 feet from my home," he said from his hospital bed Tuesday. "I was going to drink my beer and listen to opera."
Lathrom said he noticed a young man standing on the sidewalk as he walked down Jane Street at about 5:30 p.m. but didn't pay any attention.
"I was never concerned," he said. "I never would have treated this individual with suspicion."
Suddenly, "something slammed into the left side of my face, and the next thing I realized, I was on the ground and I had no idea what happened to me," said Lathrom.
Surveillance footage from the scene shows the attacker running across the street after he knocks Lathrom to the ground.
A doorman at a nearby building rushed out and called 911. Lathrom was taken to an area hospital with cuts and head pain, and doctors are monitoring the large blood clot in his head, he said.
Neighbors were distraught to learn their kind neighbor was attacked so suddenly and so brutally.
"It's just devastating," said Melvin Smith, who welled up as he watched the video of the attack. "That really hurts."
Craig Cowen said Lathrom is "just a very friendly, nice guy."
Donald believes the suspects were "playing a game" in which one was egging the other one on. He said he's not angry or afraid but concedes he'll "be a little more careful" in the future.
"I really do consider it random," he said.
"I don't think it happened 'to me.' I think it happened to this guy walking down the street, who could have been anyone. It was not personal."
Donald said he wants the attackers caught so that no one else is hurt.
"I've certainly in my life felt anger and I've also felt great rage," he said. "But in this case, since very little harm was done, I'm feeling grateful rather than angry."
Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.