Riverside Park

Suspect Arrested in Serial Rock Attacks Terrorizing Manhattan Neighborhood: Sources

Law enforcement sources describe at least three similar cases in the area in the last week

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A suspect was arrested in connection with the serial rock attacks that have terrorized an upper Manhattan neighborhood in the last week, law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case told News 4 Friday.

The suspect, who has not yet been identified, is expected to face several charges. Detectives saw a person fitting a description of the possible assailant, and watched as he threw a rock at yet another unsuspecting victim. The rock missed the woman, but police moved into arrest the man on the spot, law enforcement sources said.

Investigators are looking into whether he is connected to the other rock attacks, as well as smashed car windows in the area.

At least three attacks were reported in Morningside Heights, the latest victim a lifelong New Yorker who was ambushed on a busy sidewalk Wednesday morning as she jogged in Riverside Park.

The woman, a 47-year-old who identified herself to News 4 as Nicole, said she was entering the overpass in the park that starts around West 125th Street, which is said to be a popular route for Columbia University students, runners and bikers.

Nicole said a man suddenly came up from behind and hit her with a brick, rock, or some other blunt object. She didn't hear him approach because she had airpods on, she said -- but all of a sudden she felt a terrible pain. Then she saw his face.

“I felt this excruciating pain at the top of my head like a brick or something had fallen on me. I almost saw stars like a cartoon, everything sort of went black," Nicole said. "He was not agitated or seem angry and did not take my phone or valuables. He didn’t run particularly fast after he hit me. Just a blank look on his face."

Students from Columbia University and passersby rushed over to help Nicole, who says she was covered in blood. They called 911 and waited for an ambulance. Nicole says she was taken by ambulance and treated at St Luke’s Hospital and needed staples put in her head to close the wound.

She describes the attacker as being of slight build and wearing a unique, almost retro, multicolored hoodie.

"It was this multicolored hoodie that was almost retro-looking and color-blocked with oranges and reds and a little bit of a rainbow. It was unique and he had the hood up," Nicole said.

Law enforcement sources confirm the aforementioned incident is part of a “rock incident assault” pattern. Nicole is at least the third victim in the last week who has been ambushed from 119th to 125th Streets near Riverside Park and hit on the head with a rock by possibly the same man, according to law enforcement sources.

Nicole told News 4 she wanted to speak out to warn others -- and so the community can help keep one another safe.

“I love this city. Running is my happy place. I love this neighborhood and I was really concerned about this man being on the street and I was really concerned upon learning he’s a serial attacker," she said.

"This is our city and we have to keep each other safe. These are our parks and our streets and I feel like there should be more of a community effort," she added. "If something is perpetrated against the community they should know about it.”

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