Perpetrator still on the loose
On June 16 at around 12:30 p.m., two women were physically assaulted on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale.
A 33-year-old woman, who requested to remain anonymous, said that during her regular lunchtime walk, an unknown individual came up from behind and punched her in the back of the head.
The incident occurred on Myrtle Avenue across the street from Mount Lebanon Cemetery, near the Glendale Library.
“It wasn’t my first thought that somebody had hit me,” she said. “I thought maybe something had fallen from the roof or some kids were playing with a basketball—almost like something had been thrown at me very hard.”
Instead, a male bystander working at a garage for the cemetery told her, “That man just punched you in the head.”
In the distance, she could see the perpetrator walking away casually in the opposite direction.
A few moments after the male bystander allowed the woman to come into the garage to call 9-1-1, another woman pushing a child in a stroller approached them, visibly shaken up.
“The man I was with said to her, ‘Did he hit you, too?’ and she said, ‘Yes, he punched me in the head and tried to push me into the street,’” the woman said.
“At that point, I was still kind of on autopilot trying to explain to 9-1-1 what the situation was. After we hung up and the police were on the way, I started to get upset and was processing what was actually going on,” she continued. “I could still see [the perpetrator] walking in the distance, continuing down Myrtle Avenue toward the McDonald’s.”
She added that the other woman who was assaulted said she was afraid to walk home as she needed to go in the same direction.
The two women, the child in the stroller, and the male bystander waited together outside the garage for the police to arrive.
But before they did, the suspect approached them again, yelling nonsensical statements and threatening them.
“We ran inside the garage and hid inside a tiny office in there. There was a glass window, so we can kind of see him outside,” the woman said.
“He was looking inside the garage for us, and at that point I felt like something was really wrong,” she continued. “It felt more like he intended to hurt us the second time, because why else would you come back? It was very menacing.”
By the time the police arrived, the suspect was gone, and they searched the surrounding area for him for a few minutes.
The cops could not locate him, and took the two victims’ statements.
Although the cemetery’s security cameras were able to capture a clear image of the suspect, the woman said that “nothing has been done” by the police as far as her case goes.
“It felt like the detective that I spoke to a few days later was blowing me off. He didn’t seem to know about the security footage, even though both of the officers who responded saw it, and I believe one of them took a picture with his cell phone,” she said.
“It’s been well over two weeks now, and I haven’t heard anything back. As far as I know, nobody’s been caught, and the picture hasn’t been circulated anywhere,” she continued. “It just kind of felt like nobody was going to do anything about it, or that it wasn’t an ‘important crime,’ like a ‘there are bigger fish to fry’ type of thing.
The woman described the assailant as a Black male in his mid-to-late 20s, average-size, wearing an oversized black t-shirt, a black durag, and what appeared to be red headphones around his neck.
She said that he looked very unassuming, and would not think twice if she’d simply passed him on the street.
It is unclear whether or not the individual was mentally unwell or under the influence of a substance, or if he came from the nearby Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center, a 200-bed men’s homeless shelter, which has caused a stir in the community.
“A lot of people that I’ve told the story to seem to think he came from there… I feel a lot of compassion for people who are experiencing homelessness, and was kind of an idealist when the shelter was first opening up,” the woman said.
“If this person was from the homeless shelter, I just hope he gets whatever help he needs.”
Since being assaulted, the 33-year-old Glendale resident said that she worries about the individual hurting someone else, and now feels very unsafe in the neighborhood.
“I’ve lived in Glendale pretty much my entire life, and I’ve never felt unsafe—especially in the middle of the day walking around. Now I feel like I’m constantly on high alert, and I’m afraid to go too far from my home or from my office,” she said. “I had a routine where I would walk on my lunch break and after work. A lot of times, I would go for a longer walk around the neighborhood, maybe an hour or so. I don’t feel comfortable doing that anymore.”
“I feel like there’s somebody still out there who maybe is looking to harm people or possibly doesn’t even remember harming people, depending on what his situation is,” she added. “The fact that he came back to us like that… that’s the kind of crime that can escalate. That’s the part that’s most concerning to me, and I almost feel like nothing’s going to happen unless he does something again.”
The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information confirmed that no arrests have been made at the time of publication, and the investigation is ongoing.