Homeless man arrested after bashing subway rider's face with metal rod and fracturing his skull
While the victim whose head got bashed in says the argument was over money, his attacker says it was not and said it was a misunderstanding.
On Monday, law enforcement authorities reported that a homeless man accused of violently assaulting a Manhattan subway rider in the face with a metal pipe has been arrested. Officers said that the aggressor was being held at the Manhattan Robbery Squad on 12th Street in Greenwich village after being apprehended on Sunday at around 11 p.m. local time.
According to the New York Post, sources in law enforcement said that a crime-stoppers tip led them to a shelter on Rogers Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where he was staying. He was arrested as soon as authorities confronted him. At about 11.15 pm on Saturday, the suspect reportedly got into an argument with a 59-year-old man while panhandling aboard a southbound No. 2 train in Manhattan.
Police said that as the fight escalated between the pair, the homeless man pulled a metal pipe out and bashed the victim in the face, fracturing his skull in the process and breaking his eye socket.
The victim said on Monday that the subway panhandler clubbed him violently just because he refused to give him any money. In a conversation with The Post, 59-year-old Michael Vansluytman recounted the incident from his hospital bed, where he is being treated for his injuries. “I didn’t have no money to give him,” he said. “He was up in my face, so I said please get out of my face. “He said I’m disrespectful.”
The 35-year-old aggressor, now identified as Geovannie Nieves, was charged with felony assault with a weapon on Monday. Nieves told reporters on Monday that he was "sorry" as he was perp-walked from the Manhattan Robbery Squad to an awaiting police car. He told them he doesn’t "remember nothing that happened” other than that the argument between the two wasn't over money.When a reporter pressed him further if the attack was over cash, he defiantly said, "No."
Sporting cuffs around both his ankles and his wrists, wearing the same "Everlast Sport" cutoff T'shirt and black hat he was seen wearing in the footage, Nieves said, “Misunderstanding. It was a misunderstanding."
“I’m sorry,” he said, looking puzzled and confused. “I don’t mean it that happened. I don’t remember nothing that happened.” That said, the victim, who is an MTA worker from the Bronx, said he was on his way to his sister's residence in Brooklyn on the southbound No. 2 train on Saturday when the panhandler, who he describes as "crazy", demanded that he cough up some cash. “He was acting crazy. Nobody paid attention to him, because there was only like four of us in that car,” Vansluytman said.
Nieves became angry when Vansluytman, a native of Guyana, told him he didn't have any money to give him and started speaking in Spanish while raising his voice.
The 59-year-old revealed that the argument got heated when he told Nieves he doesn't speak Spanish. “When you tell them you don’t speak Spanish and you look like a Spanish person, they think you’re lying to them,” Vansluytman said.
The footage shows an impassioned Nieves pointing and waving his hands at Vansluytman's face while sitting next to him. Just moments later, Nieves stands up and takes a "Babe Ruth-style swing" at his unsuspecting victim with a metal rod. “Before I could get up and block, he hit me with this iron,” Vansluytman told the Post.
Until he saw "blood gushing down my shirt", the shocked Vansluytman didn’t know the seriousness of his injuries, he said. “I was rubbing the spot where I got knocked – it’s numb . . . I didn’t know I got cut,” said Vansluytman, who has been under medical supervision since Saturday. Authorities informed at the time that the 59-year-old victim was immediately rushed to the Bellevue Hospital and is now in stable condition.
Law enforcement previously released a footage showing the two men exchanging threatening gestures with one another while seated. One of them stands up and gets into a swinging stance before the video abruptly stops. The second part of the footage shows the aggressor putting the metal pipe on a hand truck and wheeling away with it while the victim is seen holding a hand to his head.
Upon reaching the next station, the suspect flees the train. At the time, he was seen wearing the same blue T-shirt, black hat, and dark pants, according to cops. Currently, Nieves is awaiting his first court appearance while in NYPD custody.