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Mentally ill man charged with assault, criminal weapon possession

Prosecutors charged a mentally ill man with assault and criminal weapon possession on May 20 after authorities say that he used a hammer to randomly attack three people and a police officer in New York City. The final alleged attack led to the man being shot, ending up with him being hospitalized.

The attacks started on May 11, when a woman was hit with a hammer in the head at a park. Another woman was in Union Square a few hours later when she saw a man looking in her direction, according to authorities. He then pulled out the hammer from a bag and struck her on the head. After around 10 minutes, a 33-year-old was also hit from behind. Police and prosecutors say that the mentally ill man is responsible for these attacks.

After tracking the man to the subway, officers obtained and circulated a photo of him to officers going on patrol. On May 13, two officers spotted him in Manhattan while responding to a different assault. When they walked toward him, he began to swing a hammer, hitting the female officer three times. Then, her male partner fired four shots. Authorities determined that the hammer is the same used in the previous attacks.

On May 20, the man was arraigned via video link in the hospital but did not enter a plea. With his attorney present, he acknowledged understanding the charges. Police say he has a history of schizophrenia and paranoia, and his attorney has requested a psychiatric evaluation. He is scheduled for a June 25 court date.

Individuals who are charged with assault may find it advisable to consult with a criminal defense attorney. To get the charges dismissed, an attorney may cast doubt on the accusations that the prosecution make against the defendant or show that the defendant was acting in self-defense.

Source: ABC News, "NYC Hammer Suspect Charged With Assault From Hospital Bed," Colleen Long, May 20, 2015

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