62-year-old recovering from violent, unprovoked subway attack

CHELSEA, Manhattan (WABC) -- A 62-year-old man said he was just minding his own business on the F train on Thursday when a man punched him right in the face.

It happened on the southbound F train at the 23rd Street station. Police sources say the suspect was harassing the victim moments leading up to the random attack.

The victim, with his back, turned to his assailant, never saw it coming. Two staples are holding his wound shut, his face is covered in cuts and bruises, his eye is bruised, his lip is swollen and his neck is in a brace.

Social media video shows fellow riders rushing to help and try to subdue the suspect.

The suspect initially fled the scene but was then arrested by two officers shortly after.

Justin Pena from the Bronx was charged with assault. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

"These unprovoked attacks usually have something to do with mental illness. They're so rare. But nonetheless, the NYPD catalogs them to see if there are any kind of patterns," said retired NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

Despite a rash of recent similar incidents, police statistics show the numbers are down this year. To date, there have been nine random subway assaults this year compared to 11 this time last year.

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