NEW YORK -- An immigrant from Mexico is in critical condition, and now a Bronx man is facing an attempted murder charge after police say the suspect brutally sucker punched the victim outside a restaurant.
CBS2's Tony Aiello has details and reaction from the victim's family.
The assault on Juan Cortez's brother happened Friday night near a busy corner next to the Fordham Road subway station and was captured on surveillance outside Fuego Tipico Restaurant on East 188th Street.
Police say it shows 55-year-old Bui Van Phu putting on gloves and then walking up to 52-year-old Jesus Cortez. Then, without warning and from behind, the assailant suddenly throws a vicious roundhouse punch to the back of Cortez's head.
"We were really, really sad when we saw the video, because it was really, really aggressive video. He was just standing and then the guy just came and hit him from the back," said Anel Gomez, the victim's niece.
Gomez said her uncle suffered major head trauma as he collapsed on the sidewalk after the attack.
The NYPD believes both the victim and suspect had been inside the restaurant before the incident. Police said the sucker punch came "without prior conversation or altercation."
"My uncle, he's a nice person. He's not like a trouble person to go outside and fight anyone," Gomez said.
The owner of a deli across from the restaurant saw the video and recognized the suspect as a frequent customer.
"Surprised, because I've not seen him make trouble with anybody on the street," Adel Nasser said.
An unprovoked, violent attack is troubling to those who've seen the video.
"You blindside a man from the back, from the side, so it's terrible. Put on the gloves and just whack him? That's not right," said Felipe Antonio Pena of Fairview, New Jersey.
"Never saw the punch. He hit him from behind. Yeah, it's crazy," added Doreen Ellis of Fordham.
The victim, Jesus Cortez, is a native of Puebla, Mexico. Aiello was told he attends church and is very active with a Mexican folk lore group that is active in the Bronx.
The suspect has a criminal records that dates back to 1989. He had been on parole since 2015, after serving time for a felony sex crime.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.
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