Boy Left Critical After Homeless Man Allegedly Slams His Head on Driveway in Random Attack

Home where boy was attacked
ABC News/YouTube

A 7-year-old from New York City is in critical condition this morning after a homeless man allegedly slammed the boy headfirst into the pavement in a random and vicious assault Thursday evening. According to the boy's father, his two sons were playing in their grandfather's driveway when the "emotionally disturbed" man approached them from the street and attacked without warning.

  • The two boys, who have not been named publicly, were reportedly waiting for a pizza to be delivered at the time of the attack.

    It happened around 5 p.m. in the Kew Gardens section of the borough, shortly before the family was due to leave for the airport. CBS News reports that the man approached the children without warning and was shirtless at the time of the attack.

    "This emotionally deranged individual came into my driveway, picked up my grandson and slammed him to the ground,” the boys' grandfather, Rabbi Neftali Portnoy, told WABC.

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  • After seeing his little brother being viciously attacked, the 10-year-old sprinted inside to alert his parents.

    “There were two of them out here, and one of them came running in and when you heard his scream, you knew something was going on,” Portnoy recalled.

    In a matter of minutes, an ambulance arrived to rush the victim to the hospital. Meanwhile, the suspect -- who has been identified as 35-year-old Laurance Gendreau -- was arrested by police just a block and a half away from where the incident took place, reported the New York Times.

  • According to Portnoy, Gendreau allegedly told police at the time of his arrest that he is "bipolar," though police would not confirm nor deny that.

    Portnoy alleged the man was also muttering something along the lines of, "I could have killed the kid."

    Gendreau is being held at a Queens hospital, where he is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

    The shocking incident comes just as the city is facing a large-scale homelessness crisis, which city mayor Bill DeBlasio has vowed to combat. In fact, the mayor has pledged to open 90 new homelessness shelters by 2022, the Times reports -- and many of these facilities would provide mental health resources for those who need it. Thus far only 27 of those have been opened, as plans have been delayed over resistance from residents in the areas where the proposed shelters would go in.

    The Kew Gardens incident also comes on the heels of another violent attack in the city just days prior, in which a 24-year-old homeless man bludgeoned four other homeless men to death in their sleep in lower Manhattan.

  • As for the boy in this attack, his condition is said to be serious but not life-threatening.

    “He has a concussion," Portnoy told WABC. "He is in the pediatric intensive care unit … stable but critical condition and hopefully he will be okay."

    In the meantime, neighbors are understandably on edge.

    "As a parent, I'm horrified," Rabbi Gary Moskowitz told CBS News. "I have three small children here, and I'm always concerned about safety."