I thought that what happened to me right on the block where I’ve lived for years might be of interest for your paper’s Crime Watch notifications. I hope it might serve as a head’s up for other people, women especially, who live in the neighborhood.
It was Sunday night, January 3rd, going into Monday, January 4th. I left my building at 11:55 p.m. The building is on 61st Street between Second and Third avenues. I was taking my little rescue dog out for his last walk of the day.
When I was about two thirds of the way up towards Third Avenue I stopped for a moment to allow my dog to sniff near the curb. I was standing sideways on the pavement turned facing north, I noticed a guy also walking towards Third Avenue about 20 feet in back of me; he looked perfectly non-threatening, like a man who had just finished work somewhere and was walking towards the subway to go home.
I started back walking and facing towards Third Avenue. Suddenly, and completely silently, the guy that I’d seen a few seconds earlier closed the gap between us on the sidewalk and put me in a very forceful choke hold, from behind. I could not do anything, After some seconds (I’ve no idea how long,) I passed out.
I regained consciousness a short time later (again, no idea how long it took,) flat down on the sidewalk with my face on the pavement. The attacker was still there, bent over me searching through my coat pockets. He found and got nothing! I’d come out just to walk my dog without a handbag, I had no phone, no credit cards, no watch or any other jewelry, and not one cent of money. I had my door keys without any ID on them in one pocket, and a spare poop bag and dog treats in the other pocket. All this stuff remained in my pockets after the attacker fled.
Since I was now on the ground and not in the choke hold any longer, I was able to scream, I screamed bloody murder. The attacker turned my face up and covered my mouth with his gloved hand, stopping me from screaming, but then his hand slipped off my mouth a bit and I got a couple more good, loud screams in. He then put his hand back, more firmly this time, over both my mouth and my nose. Very scary as now I couldn’t breath.
Fortunately my screams had already been heard by a fellow on the other side of the street, the north side. This man came running over the road yelling “What’s going on?” The attacker fled.
The man who had come to my aid is a pharmacist at the Animal Medical Center on 62nd Street and York Avenue. He had just finished his shift, (they are open 24 hours,) and he was on his way to take the subway home!
I’m not a religious woman, but this man’s name is Angel Rodriguez! He certainly was my Angel that night.
The 19th Precinct has all of this information. A detective named Brian O’Donnell has the case. I’m hoping that they might be able to find the attacker through film on the security surveillance camera on the brownstone where the attack took place.
I hope that perhaps women in the neighborhood reading this in Our Town will become aware that, sadly, it’s not as safe around here as they might have thought. I had thought myself safe on my block before this.