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Police: Homeless man hit 7-year-old boy with autism ‘in the face,’ knocking out his teeth

MANHATTAN, N.Y. — Police said a homeless man randomly attacked a 7-year-old boy with autism who was out with his grandmother in Manhattan.

“It’s like, bothering me every single day,” said Valeriya Potapova, mother of 7-year-old Yaromir. “He’s afraid to go to the park now. He’s stressed.”

Potapova said she could not believe this happened to her son not far from their home in Hell’s Kitchen on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan in New York City.

She said on Wednesday morning, Sept. 4, Yaromir was riding his scooter with his little sister and grandmother on the West Side Highway near 52nd Street. He was a few feet ahead when Potapova said he stopped to let them catch up, when he was suddenly attacked.

“A guy jumped out of a bench,” said Potapova. “Hit him in the face. He didn’t say anything. Just hit him in the face and walked away.”

Police said witnesses saw it, and a state trooper nearby tussled with 67-year-old Ryan Fran before arresting him.

Luckily, the Potapovas said Yaromir wasn’t seriously hurt. His mom said he’s a sweet boy, who has speech delays and autism. She said all parents should think twice and be careful where they go with their kids.

“It shouldn’t be like this,” said Potapovas. “People with mental issues shouldn’t walk outside. We might be lucky, because he didn’t have a knife. He didn’t hit him with a rock. He didn’t kill him.”

The state trooper involved was not seriously hurt.

Fran faces several charges, including assaulting a child under 11, assaulting a police officer, and resisting arrest.

He was admitted to the hospital after his arrest.

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