Man attacks 11-year-old girl, hits 15-year-old in park near Manhattan school

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MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) – An 11-year-old girl was attacked by a man in a park near her Manhattan school on Wednesday, and police released clear photographs of the assailant which they hope will lead to a arrest.

It happened around noon in Stuyvesant Square, located at Perlman Place and East 16th Street, and apparently stems from a dispute between pet owners at a dog park and students who use Stuyvesant Square for playtime.

Authorities say the girl was at the park with her classmates when one of the dog owners approached her and started yelling at them for throwing glowing objects that could have frightened the dogs.

The video shows school children throwing firecrackers, and dog owners yelling at them as an apparent chaperone lost control of the situation as it got worse and physical.

The kids seemed to throw dirt at the screaming dog owners, and the girl seemed to try several times to attack the man who ended up hitting her.

When the girl fired back, police said the man grabbed her hair and punched her on the left side of the face. He also allegedly wrapped his hands around the girl’s neck and started strangling her.

Another schoolmate in the park, a 15-year-old boy, tried to intervene and was also beaten.

Other dog owners like Pete Ghiorse got involved, not realizing the extent of what happened, and they eventually saw the man go.

“I didn’t know what was going on, so me and another guy got in the middle and broke up,” he said. “I think he heard the sirens, and he booked it.”

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Dog owners agree that humans had no right to attack a child, but they say children shouldn’t act that way with dogs, either.

“There is no supervision,” said dog owner Wendy Slater. “It’s been going on for years. It was the right thing about COVID. They weren’t there.”

The NYPD says it is reviewing the video and speaking to all witnesses involved, although they do want to speak to this suspect in the girl’s assault.

The girl was taken to Mount Sinai Beth Israel in stable condition, while the boy was treated there.

Several witnesses told Eyewitness News that people using the park were concerned about the man and his treatment of others and his own dog.

A woman named Rachel who has seen it all hopes he will be charged and prosecuted.

“I hope they find this man,” she said. “This man grabbed her by the neck, the chest and punched her in the head. Eleven year old black girl. It’s not normal. He’s dangerous.”

She said she confronted the man and asked him why he did this, and that he told her he could get away with it.

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Witnesses say they don’t want this to happen and hope anyone who recognizes him will call the police.

The individual is described as a fair-skinned male, around 25-35 years old, with facial hair and shoulder length blonde hair.

He was last seen wearing a gray long sleeve shirt, black pants, black sneakers and sunglasses.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the New York Police Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or, in Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA ( 74782).

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