Neil Johnson, a doorman at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, was hailing a cab for a guest when he heard a scream from across the street in Central Park. Without hesitation he ran through the traffic towards the screams. At the corner of Central Park South and Grand Army Plaza, Johnson saw a woman and a child running away from a man who was yelling incoherently.
Neil stepped in front of the deranged attacker. preventing the man from getting to the woman and child while he called the police.
Witnesses to the incident say the man “sucker punched” the nine-year-old girl in the side of her head. Police apprehended the suspect a half block away a few minutes after the incident. The unidentified girl was treated at the scene and her mother declined further medical treatment.
According to police, the suspect has a history of mental health issues, which Johnson says was “pretty clear.” Johnson says that in his 24 years working at the hotel, he’s seen lots of “fights and stuff,” but this incident was “off the charts as far as sanity goes.” He adds that the city needs more resources to help people with mental illness.