Police in New York City on Monday were still searching for at least three suspects captured in footage brutally beating an off-duty firefighter who was walking his dog through a park in his Queens neighborhood.
Scores of teens descended on Juniper Valley Park in Flushing Friday and were reportedly lighting off fireworks and wreaking chaos on the neighborhood.
Videos circulated online showed a crowd of rowdy juveniles cheering, as the trio of youngsters kicked and punched a 44-year-old man, later identified as an off-duty firefighter, at the corner of 75th Street and Juniper Boulevard around 9:55 p.m., knocking him to the pavement.
The man let go of his dog’s leash, and the Labradoodle was seen wandering amid the chaotic seen.
NYPD Crime Stoppers on Sunday released photos of the three unknown individuals wanted for assault in connection to the incident – but no arrests have been announced.
"There were at least 100 kids" gathered at the park, the victim, who asked that his name not be published, told the New York Post, saying he was just walking his dog when the mob approached him. "One kid took his shirt off and said, ‘it’s Fight Night!’ He said he was 19 and said, ‘I could fight you.’ Everyone took their cellphones out. There were cellphones everywhere."
The victim, a father of three, said one juvenile came up from behind and hit him in the back of the head with a bottle. He eventually was knocked to the ground before an ambulance showed up.
"They didn’t care at all. The kids were going crazy. They were as high as a kite," he said.
Curtis Sliwa, founder of the neighborhood watch group the Guardian Angels who is currently the Republican candidate for mayor in New York City, shared video of the brawl on Twitter, alleging that NYPD officers from the 104th Precinct "were there but did nothing."
Sliwa said community members in Middle Village have since reached out to them seeking help from the Guardian Angeles to find "these vicious teens."