NYPD's Hate Crimes unit is investigating after a man allegedly declared he would attack the first white person he came across, then punched and knocked out a 69-year-old man in Union Square Wednesday.
LaShawn Marten, 31, of Morningside Heights, is accused of attacking three people in the busy plaza Wednesday afternoon, according to the NYPD. Police said the suspect, who is black, punched the 69-year-old white man in the face, causing serious injuries. The suspect then punched a 48-year-old person and an 18-year-old person, both also white.
The 69-year-old victim was being treated for critical injuries at Bellevue Hospital, police said. He slipped into a coma after the attack, police say.
The suspect "made statements to the effect that ‘I’m going to punch the first white man that I see," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
James Hall-Collins shot video in the aftermath of the attack. The attack appeared to be completely random, he said.
"It was random, it was for no apparent reason," said Hall-Collins. "He just walked up and hit him."
NYPD Hate Crimes Unit Investigating Union Square Attack | NBC New York
Police Investigating Bloody Union Square Rampage As Possible Hate Crime: Gothamist