A convicted sex offender was arrested in connection to the brutal, unprovoked assault on a 52-year-old man in New York City.
NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
The New York City suspect let back onto the streets following a caught-on-camera sucker punch knockout attack was returned to Rikers Island on Saturday amid public outcry over his initial release.
Bui Van Phu, a 55-year-old homeless convicted sex offender, had been released without bail on Thursday. He was initially arrested on Wednesday on an attempted murder charge, but that offense was downgraded to third-degree assault and second-degree harassment – misdemeanor offenses that are not bail-eligible crimes under New York state’s 2020 enacted controversial bail reform law.
Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul – a staunch supporter of the bail reform law enacted under her former boss, Andrew Cuomo – said she contacted the Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and ordered corrections officials to "immediately examine" if Phu violated parole terms following the Aug. 12 unprovoked beat down of 52-year-old Jesus Cortes outside the Fuego Tipico restaurant in the Bronx.
At a subsequent corrections hearing, a state corrections official told a judge that Phu was a member of the notorious Born to Kill street gang founded in the 1980s by first-generation Vietnamese immigrants, N.Y. Daily News reported. He was re-arrested Friday and was returned to the notorious Rikers Island jail complex on Saturday.
NYPD released video of an Aug. 12 unprovoked assault that unfolded at approximately 10:45 p.m. in front of 163 E 188 St in the Bronx. (NYPD)
NYC sucker punch assault suspect is a convicted sex offender. (NYPD)
"He has a substantial risk of not returning to his parole," Department of Corrections and Community Service Officer Nixon Ribera said at the hearing regarding Phu, according to Daily News.
Video released by the NYPD allegedly shows Phu put on work gloves on Aug. 12 before approaching Cortes, a Mexican immigrant whom he never met, from behind outside Fuego Tipico and delivering a single blow to the back of his head, laying him out on the concrete. Cortes remains in a coma as of Saturday after suffering a skull fracture, broken cheek and brain bleeding.
Phu was previously convicted of first-degree sex abuse in the Bronx in 1995 and was sentenced to six years to life in prison. He was paroled in 2019 and is now registered as a Level 3 sex offender — the most serious designation — for sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl in 1994, according to state records.
Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to email@example.com and on Twitter: @danimwallace.