Jennifer Millman

Suspect Arrested in Coma Beating on NYC Street

What to Know

  • Police have arrested the man wanted in the vicious Bronx beating of a man that sent the victim into a coma
  • The 22-year-old suspect turned himself in to police Friday after police released surveillance video earlier in the week
  • The victim remains in critical condition at the hospital and unable to speak

The NYPD says they've apprehended the man who was wanted for allegedly beating a 38-year-old stranger into a coma after a casual conversation on a city street.

Cops say 22-year-old Nilson Castillo of the Bronx turned himself in to police on Friday, days after he was identified as the suspect in the vicious beating on West 183rd Street in University Heights early Sunday morning. NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea credited the public who called in their tips for helping nab him. 

Castillo, who's facing robbery and assault charges, said nothing to reporters as he was led from a police station in handcuffs. It wasn't clear if he has an attorney. He has one drug charge on his record, police said. 

No one answered the door at his listed home address in the Bronx, but neighbors were shocked to hear the violent man who police had been looking for all week allegedly lived in their midst. 

"I was surprised to see it was my neighbor," said Ana Ortiz. "I didn't expect that, he seems like a nice guy." 

"I had no idea, I found out afterwards and said, 'That was on my floor?'" said Miguel Perez. 

Survelliance video released by police earlier in the week showed Castillo allegedly chatting up another man, then suddenly start punching him in the face. The video shows the vicious attack continuing even when the victim dropped to the ground and then again while he was lying on the sidewalk.

The suspect robbed the victim before fleeing the area, police said. 

Basheer Alabdi, who works at a bodega up the block, saw the victim lying on the ground after the attack. He said the man "looked like he was dead." 

"I was scared, I called 911 right away," he said. 

Alabdi said he saw both men in the bodega minutes before the attack.  He said the victim appeared drunk, and the attacker followed him out. 

The victim was taken to an area hospital, where he remains in a critical condition. Police are still investigating if there was a motive other than robbery; five days after the attack, they still haven't been able to interview the victim because he is still unable to speak. 

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