The 62-year-old man brutally beaten in New York City by an attacker who allegedly vowed to punch “the next white person” he saw has died, police said.
Jeffrey Babbitt had been declared brain dead and slipped into a coma after the assault Wednesday. He died Monday at Bellevue Hospital, CBS New York reported.
Babbitt, a retired train conductor, had been walking through Union Square Park when 31-year-old Lashawn Marten allegedly vowed to beat “the next white person who walks by,” according to news reports. Marten, who is black, also allegedly shouted, “I hate white people” before witnesses said he assaulted Babbitt.
“He said ‘the next white person who walks by I’m going to [expletive],’” one woman told CBS New York. “His fist went in and the man’s head bobbed and he hit the ground and you could hear his skull hitting the ground.”
Marten also allegedly attacked two other men who tried to help Babbitt, Newsday reported.
Police are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime, CBS reported.
Babbitt had lived with his 92-year-old mother as her primary caregiver. Friends told CBS she remained by his side in the hospital until he died.
“She stood up in that hospital from the time Jeffrey was admitted. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday sleeping on the couch up there,” neighbor Robert Pizzimenti told the station. “I called her on the phone and said ‘Lu come home,’ and she said ‘I’m not leaving my son.'”
A sign posted in an elevator in Babbitt’s apartment building described him as “a kind and gentle soul.”
“He’s very good guy. He’s very helpful to all the people. He never say no if somebody ask him for the help,” neighbor Vladmir Krasmov told CBS New York.