LOWER MANHATTAN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A 2-year-old child was randomly struck in the face by a 20-pound suitcase in Lower Manhattan and her traumatized mother is exclusively sharing their story with Eyewitness News.
It happened at Bowery and Stanton Street Monday around 7 p.m.
The child's mother had just left the playground and was pushing her baby in a stroller when she was whacked in the face.
Police responded to a 911 call of an assault and determined that a 30-year-old male -- unprovoked and no words exchanged -- threw the 20-pound suitcase at the young girl.
The man was barefoot, speaking incoherently and struggling to carry the giant heavy suitcase.
"My first reaction was to take her out of the stroller and comfort her because she was crying," the victim's mother, who only wanted to be identified as Roberta, said.
The incident left a cut on the baby's face and she was nearly hit in the eye.
"I think it was by accident, but actually I don't think he realized what he did, I don't think he has mental condition to realize what he was doing," Roberta said.
Roberta just returned from a year in Brazil and said she doesn't recognize the city she returned to.
"I'm very traumatized, I don't know how I will go walk in the streets with her again, and that's very tough because we live in a small apartment here," Roberta said.
"If she's coming back from Brazil, one of the most violent places on Earth, and thinks that New York is out of control, we have a much bigger problem I think than what we already," said Richard Aborn, Pres. Citizens Crime Commission.
Police arrested 30-year-old Tyriek Martin on charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
He is currently undergoing a psychiatric evaluation and has been arrested 69 times before.
The latest was for criminal trespassing, criminal possession of a substance, public lewdness, attempted robbery, and exposing himself to a child in 2019.
Aborn says it's a complicated problem that needs multiple solutions. He says the City Council needs to fully fund the NYPD, DAs need support to move violent crimes through the court system more quickly, and it's time to rethink "some" of the bail reforms.
"You got to give judges more discretion to impose bail on those conditions where defendants background just mentioned, presents just an extraordinary case of where somebody does pose a threat to the community," Aborn said. "Theres no doubt the crime rate is climbing rapidly, particularly shootings and murder, and they are starting to take on a random quality to what the Times Square shooting just a couple days ago."
Aborn also suggesting new legislation like a repeat misdemeanor bill.
As for Roberta, upon retiring to New York, right away she noticed a different city.
"There was two homeless guys fighting and throwing things at each other and the kids were there playing a few feet from each other," she said.
Like so many others, Roberta is planning to leave the city for the suburbs.