Hammer Attack Caught On CBS2 Exclusive Video; Suspect Shot By Police
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The suspect in a spate of hammer attacks remained hospitalized late Wednesday, after being shot in Midtown.
CBS2 has obtained exclusive video of one of the four attacks on Monday, which you can see above.
The video shows the suspect walking up behind a couple on West 17th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue and pulling a hammer out of his pocket before cracking the woman in the back of the head and running away.
It was one of four attacks that gripped the city.
The first attack happened at around 1:45 p.m. Monday near West 35th Street and Sixth Avenue, according to Manhattan Chief of Detectives William Aubry.
A 20-year-old man was talking with three women when the suspect approached and started yelling profanities before striking the man in the head with the hammer, Aubry said.
Around 5:10 p.m. Monday in Madison Square Park, a 34-year-old woman was walking when the suspect yelled profanities at her and struck her in the head, Aubry said.
Later that evening in Union Square Park, a 28-year-old woman was sitting on a bench and enjoying the day, when she saw the suspect with a pack of cigarettes in his hand, Aubry said. She made eye contact with him, and he abruptly got up and struck her in the head with the hammer, he said.
The suspect then proceeded about a block and a half west on 17th Street, where he struck the 33-year-old woman as seen above, Aubry said.
Police tracked the suspect to the subway station at 34th Street and Broadway, where he had used his MetroCard around 2 p.m. They obtained the suspect's image, and matched it to a photo on file with the department, Aubry said.
Police had put up a wanted poster and offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to his arrest. Detectives began intense manhunt for the suspect -- identified by police Commissioner Bill Bratton as David Baril, 30.
On Wednesday morning at around 10 a.m., two officers from the Midtown South Precinct -- Officer Lauren O'Rourke, 27, and Officer Geraldo Casaigne, 36 -- recognized the suspect at 37th Street and Eighth Avenue shortly before 10 a.m. and approached him, Bratton said.
The officers had just responded to an unrelated assault on 38th and Eighth Avenue when they spotted the suspect, Aubry said.
"As they approached him at the corner of West 37th Street and Eighth Avenue, he violently attacked them unprovoked – striking Officer O'Rourke with a hammer which is believed to be the same weapon used in Monday's attacks," Bratton said.
The suspect hit O'Rourke with the claw end of the hammer, Bratton said.
O'Rourke had been trying to make a call on her radio, saying she had been struck and had fallen down, Bratton said. In an attempt to save O'Rourke's life, Casaigne fired a shot at the suspect and seriously wounded him, Bratton said.
The officer fired at the suspect four times and struck him twice, according to Manhattan Chief of Detectives William Aubry.
The shooting was caught on video.
NYPD video of shooting of hammer-wielding suspect:
Bratton said the suspect easily could have killed O'Rourke with a blow to the head. He said the suspect tried to strike her several times over a period of three seconds.
Police said Baril was hit in the torso, arm and head – bringing the Midtown morning commute to a halt.
Witnesses walking nearby were stunned.
"All we hear is just gunshots," said Terrell Diehl of Elizabeth, New Jersey.
"I was, like, super unsettled," said witness Anina Bose. "I really didn't have any words. I was just so confused by what was going on, you know, because you don't really see things like that in this neighborhood. And I mean, it was just unsettling."
O'Rourke was being treated for abrasions to her shoulder at Bellevue Hospital Center Wednesday afternoon, and doctors had ordered her to undergo a CT scan, Bratton said. Casaigne was not injured, but was hospitalized for observation.
Police Shoot Hammer-Wielding Man In Midtown
Both officers were expected to be released later Wednesday, Bratton said.
"I want to commend those two officers for their actions this morning. First in seeing the suspect and approaching him. And then secondly for the quick action on the part of the officers, but particularly the male officer, who based on the preliminary video I viewed, quite possibly saved his partner's life by shooting the suspect," Bratton said earlier.
Police recovered a hammer at the scene.
Baril was in critical, but stable, condition, according to Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry.
Police said Baril suffers from paranoia and schizophrenia. As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, neighbors said Baril lived in a building in the Riverdale section of the Bronx until a year ago, and he was seen as unstable.
"On his medication, the sweetest guy in the world; off the medication, like Dr. Jekyll and Hyde," said neighbor Fred Faga.
Faga said Baril even once tried to attack him after a confrontation.
"So he shoved me, grabbed me by the neck, and I threw him up against the wall and I said, 'Don't you ever put your hand on me again," Faga said. "I knew something was going to happen sooner or later."
Last year on his Instagram account, Baril posted a drawing of a hammer dripping with blood – which was suspected to be a hint toward violent plan.
He uploaded similar sketches of a bloody axe and a bloody knife.
Police said Baril was most recently living in a mental health facility.
Police Shoot Hammer-Wielding Man In Midtown
Police released a photo of the hammer, which was believed to have been used in all the attacks.
During an exclusive interview with CBS2, one of the victims, Victor Urena, showed his head injury after he got attacked with a hammer in the first incident on West 35th Street.
"I started bleeding right away," he said. "I checked myself. Had blood on my hand."
Police said Baril has eight prior arrests, including an assault against an officer.
Charges against Baril were pending late Wednesday.
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