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NYPD: Suspect Punches 72-Year-Old Man In West Village Attack

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police Tuesday night were looking for two men who they say attacked a 72-year-old man as he walked home from a deli in the West Village.

As CBS 2's Don Champion reported, investigators said the incident occurred on Jane Street near Washington street around 5:30 p.m. Monday.

One of the suspects was caught on surveillance video punching the victim in the face before crossing the street and taking off with another man, police said.

West Village Attack Suspect
Pair of suspects wanted in West Village attack (left) and close up of one of two being sought (right) (Credit: NYPD)

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital with lacerations to his head and face. He spoke to CBS 2 on the phone from his hospital bed Tuesday night.

"I don't understand it," the man said. "I mean, I can't even imagine that people consider this a success or a victory of some kind," he said.

Neighbors are stunned and angered.

"It looks like that whole 'knockout game' is still going on unfortunately," said Steve Leghart, who works in the West Village.

"That's scary," said West Village resident Mary Jane McDonald. "There's normally a lot of people around this block, so I'm surprised that it happened in broad daylight."

NYPD: Suspect Punches 72-Year-Old Man In West Village Attack

Evan, who is staying in the hotel where the victim lives, told 1010 WINS' Gary Baumgarten the randomness of the attack is frightening.

"It's scary because it's impossible to find a reason for a crime like this, and it makes it all the more terrifying," Evan said.

Police say there was no robbery and no apparent motive.

"That's uncool," said Paul, an artist from Rhode Island, who is also staying at the hotel. "It's too bad we're living as a society where things like that happen constantly."

Neighbors have described the victim as a retired cab driver who now walks dogs.

"He's a nice man. he's just an older gentleman who always says hello, good morning, and asks for you to go on the elevator first. He's friendly," neighbor Craig Cowan said.

Detectives were back on the scene on Tuesday looking for clues. Surveillance footage does not appear to show the attacker or his accomplice taking anything from the victim.

Both suspects are believed to be in their 20s.

Investigators have not called the incident a knockout attack, but neighbors say it has given them reason to be on guard.

"I'm really shocked. I can't believe it because this is such a great area," Amy Gruenhut said.

"Where did this come from? What kind of kids are we raising nowadays that punching anybody elderly, women, defenseless people is joy? It's fun? Where did that come from?" Steve Laghart said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit tips to the Crime Stoppers website or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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