KEY POINTS

  • A 31-year-old New York man was waiting for the train when three homeless men attacked him with a knife early Monday
  • The victim's family said the three would-be heroes thought he was harassing his wife
  • The victim required stitches for the slashing on his lips

Three homeless men in Manhattan, New York, were arrested after they mistakenly attacked a 31-year-old man whom they thought was harassing his wife, the victim's family said.

Luis Sanchez had been celebrating Mother's Day and was chatting with his wife and her two daughters on an East Harlem subway platform early Monday when he was surrounded and slashed by the would-be heroes, the New York Daily News first reported, citing testimonies from Sanchez's family. 

According to the victim's 18-year-old stepdaughter, Jessica Martinez, the three were sitting on a bench near the No. 6 train platform at E. 116th St. at around 3:20 a.m. before they approached Sanchez and attacked him. Martinez said the men allegedly thought Sanchez and his wife were strangers and that Sanchez was harassing her.

"Me and my mom were already waiting for the train. My stepdad was behind us, and they thought he was bothering us because he was in the back and walking slow," Martinez said.

She allegedly told the three homeless men that Sanchez was her stepdad but that they "didn't listen... they surrounded him."

Sanchez was reportedly slashed in the face when one of the attackers pulled out a blade.

"I pulled him away and I called the cops," Martinez recalled. According to her, the three just "sat there" following the attack.

"It happened so fast," the stepdaughter said.

Police arrived and arrested all three men, who were identified as 38-year-old Arnaldo Estrella, 42-year-old Jose Perez and 55-year-old Ramon Arroyo. Perez and Arroyo were charged with assault, while Estrella was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

No information was revealed to explain Estrella's additional charges.

Sanchez's family said the victim needed stitches to close the slashing on his lips. According to them, Sanchez was unable to talk Monday night.

"They didn't have to use a knife," Martinez said. "Bringing out a weapon, it could’ve went in his head. He flinched, that’s why it went in his lips."

new-york-4732668_1920 Representation. Sanchez and his family were waiting for a train when the three men attacked him. Photo: Pixabay