A man accused of attacking a subway rider with a pipe, fracturing his skull, was arrested on Monday. During the arraignment, prosecutors said Geovannie Nieves was "begging for money and when the [victim] refused, the defendant became irate."
Nieves, 35, was reportedly panhandling on a southbound 2 train near West Broadway and Chambers Street on Saturday around 11:15 p.m. when he approached Michael Vansluytman. Vansluytman told WABC 7, "I said, 'I don't have no money!' He was up in my face. I said, 'You can go away from my face!' He said I was disrespectful."
Another subway passenger caught Nieves' attack on camera:
Vansluytman, 59, recalled, "By the time I get up to put my hand to at least to stop the lash, he got my hand. So I drop down back on the seat and noticed the blood." Nieves fled the train and Vansluytman was taken to the hospital, where he has been treated for a fractured skull and broken eye socket.
Prosecutor Shayna Dunning said in court that Nieves "spontaneously identified himself from a wanted poster in the precinct," adding, "There are eyewitnesses to the event. The defendant was arrested within a day, wearing the same clothes that he is wearing on video."
Nieves, who is now being held on $150,000 bail, told reporters, "It’s a misunderstanding. Yes, I’m sorry. I don’t mean that to happen … I don’t remember nothing that happened. Sorry."