NYC man Jeffrey Babbitt dies after random attack, hate crime?

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Jeffrey Babbit, a 62-year-old man, died on Monday after being randomly assaulted by a total stranger last week in Union Square in New York City. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Babbitt, a retired train conductor, fell into a coma and had been declared brain dead at Bellevue Hospital after he was allegedly attacked by 31-year-old Leshawn Marten last Wednesday.

Babbitt was reportedly walking in Union Square about 3pm Wednesday when he was attacked by Marten, who allegedly shouted a racial comment and then began attacking random strangers.

"He said 'the next white person who walks by I'm going to [expletive],'" one female witness told CBS New York. "His fist went in and the man's head bobbed and he hit the ground and you could hear his skull hitting the ground."

Another witness, Michael Benson, told ABC Local, "the guy got agitated for some reason or another and he said, 'the next white person that bumps into me without saying excuse me, I'm going to knock him out.'"

Two other men, aged 48 and 18, sustained minor injuries after allegedly being attacked by Marten as they tried to assist Babbitt was was lying on the ground. After attacking the two others, Marten then demanded to see police. He stayed at the scene until police arrived.

Marten, who is apparently homeless, was watching people play chess in the park and reportedly complained that nobody wanted to play with him before the attack occurred, said Carol D'Auria of 1010 WINS.

Authorities are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime, according to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. Marten already faces felony assault charges.


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