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Exclusive video shows Steve Buscemi and man who allegedly punched him moments before random attack in NYC

Video shows Steve Buscemi moments before getting punched in NYC
Video shows Steve Buscemi moments before getting punched in NYC 02:05

NEW YORK -- Actor Steve Buscemi appeared to be looking at his phone moments before he was randomly punched in New York City, exclusive video obtained by CBS New York shows. 

Buscemi was attacked in Manhattan last week, according to his publicist.

Police on Tuesday identified the suspect as 50-year-old Clifton Williams. On Friday, police said they had a person of interest in custody, but did not immediately release the person's name or say if they were charged.

Suspect appeared to be talking to himself

Video shows the 66-year-old "Boardwalk Empire" actor walking south on Third Avenue just before noon on May 8. Then, he looks up to greet someone before crossing East 27th Street. 

Police said a man wearing blue punched Buscemi moments after he crossed the street. It was unprovoked. 

"I feel like it's crazy, but it's believable it happens. I live right around here and I hear it all the time," said Juliana Tronconi. 

More exclusive video shows the suspect appeared to be talking to himself while walking north on Third Avenue moments before the attack.

Buscemi, a Brooklyn native and former FDNY firefighter, was taken to Bellevue Hospital for bruising, swelling and bleeding to his left eye.

Photos have emerged showing Buscemi with a bruised face. He declined an on-camera interview. 

"Another victim of a random act of violence in the city"

On 9/11, Buscemi went to Ground Zero to help his former engine company, and he received keys to the city in 2021.

A rep for Buscemi said he's now "another victim of a random act of violence in the city."

"He is OK and appreciates everyone's well wishes, though incredibly sad for everyone that this has happened to while also walking the streets of New York," the rep added. 

The NYPD says felony assaults in New York City are up 15 percent year-to-date, and misdemeanor assaults have increased by about 7 percent.

"It's horrible actually. I got attacked right here too, years ago," said Richard Robbins of Kips Bay. "I was walking down the street and somebody came by and smacked me in the back of my head and knocked me down." 

"It's a reflection of the leadership of our country and our city," another man said. "They'd arrest you but you'd be out the next day or that afternoon. So why not punch out Steve Buscemi?" 

Former NYPD Deputy Commissioner Rich Esposito told CBS New York random attacks can be challenging for law enforcement, because "they're not predictable."

"We are seeing an uptick, and of course that's scary to all of us, but it doesn't mean it's a trend that's going to continue," he said.

Buscemi the latest actor attacked in NYC

Buscemi's "Boardwalk Empire" co-star Michael Stuhlbarg was also attacked at random while on a run on the Upper East Side in March. A suspect was arrested. 

In 2020, actor Rick Moranis was randomly attacked on the Upper West Side. Prosecutors said that suspect was facing charges in several other incidents. 

Anyone with any information on the suspect in Buscemi's case 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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