A 35-year-old man is recovering from serious injuries after muggers nearly killed him in Crown Heights on Friday.
At around 8 p.m. on Friday night, George Chen, 35, was heading to a friend's house from the 3 stop at Kingston. While walking on Park Place and Hampton Place, he was assaulted by unseen attackers, who beat him with a bat or metal pipe—police say they also stole his wallet. Chen provided us with the following account [sic] via email:
On Friday November 20th, I was on my way to a goodbye dinner in my honor at my friend's apartment in Brooklyn. I was set to leave NY to start work in Asia next week. Friday was to be one of my last nights in NYC after living here about 6 years.
I exited the 3 train at the Kingston stop and walked north on Kingston about four blocks. It was 8 p.m. and Kingston is a well-lit street. Near the intersection of Kingston/Park I was attacked. Unfortunately, I have memory loss regarding the attack. One second I am walking, the next I am on the ground. I don't remember seeing the attackers, and may not have at all.
The attackers take my wallet but for some reason leave my bag and phone. They also take my glasses....low blow. I am bleeding profusely but coherent enough to know I need help. I am very near to my friend, Phil so I try to call him.
At first my phone doesn't work because the touchscreen is covered in blood. I wipe it down and call Phil. He immediately finds me and police begin to arrive. At this point, I am dazed but there are several police officers on scene. Unfortunately, my friends tell me they were not very helpful. For example, there was a trail of evidence....the attackers emptied stuff out of my wallet. My friends point this out to the police, but for some reason do not follow up on this. My friends follow the trail to pick up my wallet contents and again tell the cops which way they went.
An ambulance arrives and I am taken to Kings County Hospital. I have no idea how serious my injuries are. One thing I immediately noticed was that everyone in the hospital was giving me funny looks. This is not a good thing, I am thinking to myself. Someone says to me, "If you feel sleepy, try to stay awake." This is also not a good thing to hear. I asked a random patient next to me how I looked. He replied, "It's bad, man…."
My friend Calvin arrives at ER. He takes a look at me and becomes light-headed and has to leave to gather himself. It's like a scene from "As Good As It Gets." They give me morphine. I can't stop bleeding from my head. I have missing teeth. I've swallowed blood, which I later vomit back up while being worked on. A scan reveals my jaw is fractured in multiple places (I'm having trouble speaking). My left knee and shoulder are hurting (I probably fell that way). There is a huge bruise along the right side of my face. My lip is split open. I get 20 staples put in my head.
The hospital employees all tell me that this is extremely brutal for a simple robbery. It is suggested that there was a hate crime element to it, but I have no idea. There is a social worker present who speaks to my friend. He says that the attack is so bad that it could be considered attempted murder.
Chen suffered extensive injuries, including a laceration to his head that required 20 staples, a laceration in his mouth, and fractures to his face and jaw. He also lost a tooth, and many of his other teeth are loose. You can see photos of his injuries here, but be forewarned: they are graphic.
Chen does not have health insurance (though he may qualify for some coverage through a former employer), and no longer has an apartment—he was supposed to move to Asia on Sunday, though his injuries will prevent him from doing so. Friends have set up a GoFundMe page intended to go towards his medical bills. "I'm still in a lot of pain almost constantly, but after a few days and with pain meds, I am well enough to travel now," he told us. "Tomorrow, my sister will drive me back down to DC. It's Thanksgiving, and I'm still alive—could have been worse."
The NYPD says there have been no arrests.
Update 12:40 p.m.: Chen reached out to express gratitude for the outpouring of support following the attack, both from readers and from the police:
I'm so grateful for all the support I've received from friends and strangers alike. The police are currently working on tracking down some information that may help bring these criminals to justice, so I'm still hopeful there will be a positive outcome for the people living in the neighborhood.