Hammer Attack Suspect Shot by NYPD Arraigned From Hospital Bed: Court

The hammer-wielding suspect believed to have attacked four strangers within a span of six hours in Manhattan before he was shot after swinging at an NYPD officer on a midtown street has been arraigned on felony charges. 

David Baril, 30, was formally charged Thursday with seven counts of felony assault and one count of criminal possession of a weapon, a day after the dramatic confrontation between him and two police officers on a packed sidewalk near Penn Station was captured on chilling video.

Baril was aarraigned via video link from his hospital bed, where he has been since being shot at least three times -- in the head, arm and torso -- by an NYPD officer after allegedly attacking the officer's partner with a hammer linked to several other attacks, authorities have said.

He did not enter a plea and said "yes" when asked whether he understood the charges. 

His attorney says Baril is mentally ill, and that people with mental problems need more community support. 

The shooting officer, 36-year-old NYPD veteran Geraldo Casaigne, and his partner, 27-year-old officer Lauren O'Rourke, approached Baril near West 37th Street and Eighth Avenue last Wednesday after recognizing his photo from surveillance images obtained in the ongoing hammer attack probe.

Dramatic video of the ensuing confrontation shows the uniformed officers approach the suspect, wearing a hood and mask, from across the street. The suspect lunges at O'Rourke with a hammer, claw side facing out. He chases her into the middle of the road and repeatedly hits her over the head with the hammer as she falls to the ground. Casaigne follows his colleague and the suspect into the street, weapon drawn, and fires.

The officers were not seriously injured; O'Rourke underwent a CAT scan last week as doctors were concerned about the impact of the hammer on her head; results of the test were not released.

A white-claw hammer similar to the one described in the series of attacks in Manhattan was recovered at the scene.

Baril, whose last known address was in the Bronx, has eight prior arrests, including for assault, weapons possession and drug possession, police said. One of the attacks involved an assault on a police officer; in another, he jumped a counter at a fast-food restaurant and threatened a clerk. Baril, who has a history of mental illness, including paranoia and schizophrenia, voluntarily left a mental health facility in December, authorities said.

Police believe Baril has been living in parks and subways since he left the facility, and frequented the area near Union Square, where he allegedly attacked two women with a hammer in separate ambushes within minutes of each other Monday. NBC 4 New York first reported last week that authorities believed he was behind two similar attacks that occurred in Manhattan earlier that day. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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