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Five youths who are suspected of engaging in a mob attack against two 14-year-old girls in Astoria Park — an assault that was caught on video — were arrested last week, police said.
The graphic video of the attack, which shows several teenage girls hitting and kicking the victims in the park, at 19th Street between Astoria Park South and Ditmars Boulevard, was uploaded to the Internet. It helped police identify the youths allegedly involved, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said.
“As pathetic as it is that people think they need to post these videos, as a prosecutor, I can tell you it is extremely helpful to us,” he said.
The youths will now likely face felony or misdemeanor assault charges, depending on their ages, said Vallone, chairman of the Council’s Public Safety Committee.
All of the juveniles were female and three of them were 15, one was 14 and one was 13, police said.
The assault happened April 12, according to the mother of one of the victims.
Samantha Gonzalez, 14, was walking home with her friend after school when the mob attacked, said Gonzalez’s mother, Nina Kunicki.
“They all came out of nowhere, just rumbling,” Kunicki said.
What followed was caught on video taken from what seems to be a smart phone. The girls are both thrown to the ground while teens hit and kick them. At one point one of the attackers picks up an orange traffic cone and hurls it at one of the girls.
The day before, Samantha’s friend was at McDonald’s and apparently had been approached by several other teenage girls, who allegedly jumped her, Kunicki said.
Kunicki said the friend did not know the girls who attacked her.
“They just didn’t like her,” Kunicki said, adding that her daughter had been walking home with the friend April 12 to protect her.
Samantha suffered a fractured nose and multiple bruises from the attack, while her friend had to have eight stitches above her eye, Kunicki said.
She said her daughter has stayed positive and has continued going to school.
“She’s not afraid of anyone,” Kunicki said.
But Kunicki has not fared as well, saying she has been having difficulty sleeping.
“I’m upset they did this to my baby,” she said.
She said she was speaking out in hopes that she could prevent future attacks on others.
“They could have killed my daughter,” she said. “And if I don’t talk, they could do it to another child.”
Sources say the attackers went to Long Island City High School and IS 126. The victims did not attend either of those schools.
Vallone said he first learned about the video when it was sent to him by a Facebook friend. He said he provided the video to the police.
“It’s just hard to believe that first of all [this] could happen, and second of all that it could happen right here in Astoria Park,” he said.
He also expressed outrage that some of the youths were filming the attack rather than intervening.
“It’s really disheartening,” he said.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.rr
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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