A 6-year-old East Meadow boy is fighting to recover after a homeless man grabbed him, picked him up over his head and slammed him to the ground while he played in his grandparents' driveway in Queens, the NYPD and the boy's family said.
The attack Thursday around 5 p.m. left the boy with a severe concussion, a fractured skull, a collapsed lung — and in the intensive care unit at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, they said.
The sudden unprovoked attack by a stranger was "traumatizing," the boy's father, Yaakov Portnoy, said in an interview with News 12 Long Island on Friday. "I can't get it out of my head."
Police arrested Laurence Gendreau, 35, on Thursday and charged him with assault, harassment and acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17 years old, an NYPD statement said. The alleged attack happened in the Kew Gardens neighborhood.
Gendreau allegedly "charged at him, picked him up over his head and threw him to the ground," Portnoy said.
The suspect was chased down and captured by the boy's grandfather, relatives said, and police soon arrived to arrest Gendreau.
"There was a lot of noise," Portnoy said. "I came out and he was apprehended by the police a couple minutes later."
Cohen officials said they could not comment on the boy's condition, but his father said he was making some progress Friday. He said the boy opened his eyes and looked at his fingers when instructed to do so by a doctor, "which is great news."
For now his family, relatives and even complete strangers are praying for the boy's recovery.
"My siblings are praying, my extended family's praying, my family is praying," he said. Then, fighting back tears, he said, "People I don't know are praying. They're all praying. That's all we can ask for."
He hopes such an attack "doesn't happen to anybody else, ever. Indescribable," he said.
With Joan Gralla