• Stranger struck the child down in the middle of Times Square
  • Accused is a repeat offender with a history of random attacks
  • Numerous incidents of unprovoked attacks have been reported in New York

An angry mother tackled a stranger who sucker-punched her 4-year-old son to the ground in New York. The assailant, who has a history of randomly attacking strangers, was arrested in the middle of the bustling Times Square on Thursday.

Rafaela Rivera, 42, was spending the afternoon with her 17-year-old daughter, Carmen, and 4-year-old son, Angel, when the incident occurred. The three were walking around Times Square when the suspect, identified as Babacar Mbaye, walked up to them and struck the boy with a closed fist, according to ABC7.

Angel was hit right in the face and fell down to the pavement. "I heard a smack like somebody got hit in the head with a bottle. I turn around and the baby is screaming hollering and crying," Rivera said, as per the outlet.

“I was looking at him and I fell down on my head,” the boy said, and recalled the suspect “walking weird.”

The mother sprung into action and took the man down, keeping him in a tight hold until cops arrived.

"I was grabbing toward him and said, 'Hey, you just hit my son,'" she recalled while speaking to the outlet. "I grabbed him harder, and we both went down. He was on top of me, and I was not letting go."

Carmen, who also followed the man with her mother, said Mbaye spat on her during the physical altercation. "At that point I was really mad," she told the New York Post. "I was hitting on him. That was nasty."

Mbaye was held down until cops rushed to the scene and arrested the suspect. Rivera said she did what any mother would do if their child was attacked. "The mama bear in me came out. I did what any mama would do. I see my baby crying, it was like why you hit a 4-year-old?" she told the outlet.

The mother came out of the incident with bruises on her arm and legs while Angel reportedly had a few scratches near his eye.

"It was hard on my head, I saw a whole bunch of colors. I was crying," the boy told the publication and said he was "feeling good right now. I am strong. My eye doesn’t hurt."

The attacker was charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest. Mbaye is reportedly a repeat offender with 51 arrests, New York Post reported. He is being held on a bail amount of $30,000. According to the his attorney, Mbaye was "under the influence of an intoxicated, debilitating psychiatric episode."

Rivera and her family, now living in the Bronx, moved back to New York a couple of years ago from California. “It’s a different New York now – forget it,” Angel's father, Federico, reportedly said. “The crime is out of this world. There is no police presence like it used to be.”

Representative image Credit: Pixabay