Three teens were arrested Monday night in connection with the assault of a 52-year-old woman that left her with a broken rib, badly bruised knees and a concussion as she walked home from the supermarket.
Wayne Beavers and Qwatese Jarvis, both 16 and of Bay Shore, and Wilfredo Torres, 17, of Brentwood, were arrested, Suffolk police said, in the March 7 attack on Ada Dinora Lachuga.
The teens all were charged with third-degree assault. They were being held overnight at the Third Precinct and were scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Tuesday.
"Thanks to God that they would arrest them because now my sister will have peace of mind," said Lachuga's sister Alba Juarez, 51, of Brentwood. "We were praying that that would happen, but we didn't expect that it would happen so soon."
About 3 p.m. on March 7, Lachuga was walking along MacArthur Avenue in Brentwood when she was assaulted by the three teens, who punched her in the head, causing her to fall to the ground, police said. The teens then kicked Lachuga in her abdomen before fleeing, police said.
Nothing was stolen and there was no dispute before the attack, police said.
Lachuga's family members said they believe she was a victim of a "knockout game," a growing trend in which unsuspecting victims are punched in the head in an attempt to render them unconscious.
"She believes that that was what happened to her because they didn't steal anything. She got punched, and that was it," Juarez told Newsday after the attack.
Police have not linked the attack to the trend.
Witnesses called police, and Lachuga was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. She worries that she won't be able to return to her job as a landscaper until her rib heals.
"She's still in pain . . . nobody can get really close to her because she jumps; she gets scared," Juarez said. "Her neck is hurting her because when they punched her in the head twice, maybe the neck got strained."
Juarez said she was not yet sure whether the family would be at the teens' arraignment Tuesday, but she planned to hold a neighborhood watch meeting Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at City Hill Church, 303 Crooked Hill Rd. The goal of the meeting is to alert area residents about the knockout game, with the hope that awareness might prevent further attacks, Juarez said.
"These teenagers will go to jail hopefully, because if they let them go, the other ones will think it's easy to keep doing it," she said. "But if they see these teenagers pay in jail, they're going to be thinking before doing something like that."
With Candice Ruud
CORRECTION: Because of incorrect information from police, an earlier version of this story misspelled Qwatese Jarvis’ name.