Suspect in Manhattan hammer attacks charged with felony assault

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Lucy Yang reports that police shot the suspect in Midtown. (WABC)

A hammer-wielding man wounded in a police-involved shooting in Midtown Manhattan last week was arraigned Wednesday in a series of hammer attacks.

David Baril, 30, of the Bronx, was charged with seven counts felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon. He was arraigned from the hospital via video hook-up and remanded at the People's request. The investigation is ongoing.

At 10:05 a.m. last Wednesday near 37th Street and Eighth Avenue, police responded to a report of a man trying to hit an officer with a hammer. Two officers, Geraldo Casaigne and Lauren O'Rourke, recognized him and attempted to question him, and police said that's when the man began violently swinging the hammer at one of the officers, striking her. The second officer then fired four shots, hitting the suspect twice.

The suspect, identified later as Baril, was taken to a local hospital. Authorities backtracked on previously released reports that he had died.
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The NYPD has released video of the shooting a hammer-wielding suspect who attacked a police officer


"He just started swinging, and swinging at her," said eyewitness Maurice McFadden. "Her partner comes by from behind and shoots the guy in the back."

The suspect has at least eight prior arrests.

"They spotted an individual who they believe fit the description of the individual that we were looking for relative to these hammer attacks," said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton.

"When he turned around, he pulled out the hammer and violently started swinging the hammer at the female officer," said Manhattan Chief of Detectives William Aubry.

She is seen being pushed back into the intersection as her partner saw her struggling. "And he fires his weapon four times at this individual, striking him twice," said Aubry.

Detectives were able to initially identify him through facial recognition technology.

Baril is listed in critical but stable condition with two gunshot wounds, to the back and neck. He has a history being emotional disturbed, authorities say. He recently spent time living in a home for adults suffering mental illness on West 113th Street in Manhattan from October 2014 to January 2015, before discharging himself.

He is believed to have been most recently living on the streets, the subway systems or the parks.

During the ongoing search for Baril, investigators visited three addresses and canvassed the area near Columbus Circle after determining he used a MetroCard nearby.

Baril has eight prior arrests, police say.

Police said there are many cameras in the area that clearly captured the sequence of events. "We have very significant video evidence of what transpired in the next three to five seconds," said Bratton.

He went to Bellevue Hospital to visit the officers injured in the hammer attack. Dropped in the middle of the intersection was the claw hammer police believe the suspect had used in the previous attacks, and used this time against an officer.

Police say there are many cameras in the area that clearly captured the sequence of events. "We have very significant video evidence of what transpired in the next three to five seconds," said Bratton.

Authorities believe the man attacked four people and threatened a fifth on Monday.

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Surveillance video of hammer attack in Union Square.



The were two separate attacks Monday night on West 18th Street and West 17th Street near Union Square Park.

Neither victim, a 28-year-old woman and a 33-year-old woman, knew the suspect who assaulted them. They were taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Around 7:30 p.m., the 28-year-old was sitting in the park when a man took out a hammer from a bag and struck her head. She was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital.

About 10 minutes later, the other woman, walking west on West 17th Street, was approached by the suspect from behind and struck in the back of the head.

She was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital in stable condition. The suspect fled in an unknown direction. Both victims were treated and released.

In another incident on Monday at 1:45 p.m. at Sixth Avenue and West 35th Street, a 20-year-old man said he was hit with a hammer. He was not injured, and the suspect fled the scene. According to the NYPD, the incident appears to be linked to the other two.

And a 34-year-old woman said she was punched in the head by the man on East 26th Street and Madison Avenue at 5:10 p.m. Monday.

Detectives also spoke to a man who said he was threatened by a man with a hammer in Madison Square Park Monday afternoon. He was not struck.

"When he turned around, he pulled out the hammer and violently started swinging the hammer at the female officer," said Aubry.
Related Topics:
newspolice shootingpolice-involved shootingassaultNew York CityMidtown
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