Police arrested a 16-year-old suspect who allegedly attacked and seriously injured two elderly women in Pelham Bay while stealing their purses in broad daylight.
Both women, a 79-year-old woman allegedly attacked on Jarvis Avenue on Friday, August 22 and an 81-year-old woman allegedly assaulted on Mahan Avenue on Friday, September 5, sustained injuries, according to a complaint report. A relative of one of the victims said that at least one was still in the hospital as of press time.
Tyrique Rushing, 16, has been charged in both incidents, and in the theft of a cell phone in Co-op City on Wednesday, September 3 that did not result in assault charges.
Rushing faces a slew of charges, including multiple counts of robbery, assault, grand larceny, petit larceny, and hate crimes.
One of his elderly victims suffered a broken hip and shoulder blade, the other a laceration to the back of her head and damage to her jaw. Both victims fell to the ground during the alleged attacks, with one struck in the head.
Joe Oddo, a Pelham Bay community activist, who said he is a cousin of one the elderly victims, also said that he was disturbed that the crimes from Rushing seemed to follow an increasing violent pattern.
“What really gets me is this pattern and the technique that he is using,” said Oddo. “This 16-year-old isn’t just yanking the purse away from someone or making a verbal treat. Instead, he resorts to pushing seniors onto the sidewalk.”
He added: “He is escalating into violence against elderly women, and this could easily lead to a fatality.”
Oddo said that he had heard from police sources that the suspect showed little remorse about his crimes, and the confession as stated in the complaint report seems to confirm this.
“They are easy targets,” Rushing allegedly stated, according to the complaint report. “I realized how easy it was to rob old people. I went out the second time looking for an old white lady.”
Oddo indicated that the attacks show that the 45th Precinct is understaffed, and could use additional officers.
The vice-chairman of Community Board 10 and community activist John Marano, himself a former police officer, said that the incident is another example of why the 45th Precinct needs larger allocations of police officers.
“These youth and people with criminal backgrounds know that we are easy targets here,” he said.
He added: “We are undermanned and we are not getting the response that we need. The 45th Precinct is working well, and they are proactive, but they are also overworked.”
Marano said he would be very glad to see a small unit of five to ten officers who mainly address quality-of-life issues in the precinct, as well as footposts in every major commercial corridor.