West Village sucker punch victim speaks out

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N.J. Burkett speaks to the patient at the hospital. (WABC)

Police in Manhattan are searching for two young men wanted in connection with a random attack on a 72-year-old man. Now the victim of that punch is speaking out about the vicious attack.

"That guy threw a hell of a punch!" said Donald Lathrom, the assault victim.

From his fourth floor hospital room, 72-year-old Don Lathrom told Eyewitness News it was heartless and unprovoked.

He was walking home on Jane Street at 5:30 Monday evening, when a young man standing on the street made a fist and then slammed it into Mr. Lathrom's face.

As he crumpled to the pavement, detectives say the suspect took off with an accomplice.

"I saw the guy standing there, I didn't really pay him any attention, I was coming home, I was listening to music," Lathrom said, "The next thing I know something slammed into the side of my head and I was on the ground and that was it."

Police released video they hope will lead to arrests in the violent incident.

The heartless, brazen attack has left his neighbors badly shaken.

"Very generous, good-hearted, sweet guy. I don't know why somebody would do that to him," said the victim's friend and neighbor for nearly 20 years, Melvin Smith. "It's devastating because it's someone that I really love. It really hurts."

The victim is a retired taxi driver who now spends some of his time as a dog walker. "The people who did it are cowards. To randomly select someone like that is terrible," said friend Daryl Brown. "He's a really nice guy and it usually happens to nice people so that's what makes it worse."

Police say the suspect and his alleged accomplice are both in their early 20s and were wearing sneakers with distinctive Day-Glo laces.

Mr. Lathrom says the assault left him with a blood clot on his brain which his doctors hope will heal on its own in the coming days.

"Considering what could have happened to me, I feel very lucky," Lathrom said.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

Related Topics:
assaultsurveillancesurveillance camerasurveillance videoNew York CityWest Village
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