Ralph Marrero and his son become unlikely heroes on Dec. 29 when they helped save the life of Darlene Duda and her pet dog from a machete-wielding attacker by swiftly dialing 911. But six months later, Marrero found himself as crime victim as well.
Marrero was released from the hospital just in time for Father’s Day after being attacked with a wooden plank on June 17 outside the Saratoga Avenue subway station in Brownsville. The strike knocked Marrero out for a moment or two, and he woke up to find himself in the middle of the street, drenched in his own, rapidly spilling blood.
“My phone was so sticky with blood I couldn’t dial it,” Marrero told amNewYork Metro.
amNewYork Metro reached out to the NYPD for further comment on the incident, and is awaiting a response.
Marrero believes his attacker is a drug peddler who allegedly attempted to recruit his son, Issac, into helping sell drugs on the street.
Known as “The Calisthenics Kid,” Issac is somewhat of local celebrity, famed for earning a litany of medals and awards. Afraid that this individual could harm his son and tired of the verbal abuse hurled his way, Marrero confronted the man, asking him to leave them be.
“He started a fight with me when I tried to speak to him like a man,” Marrero explained. “I told him I’m too old to be out here fighting with you. I tried to speak to him kindly and he started cussing me out again.”
When Marrerro tried to walk away, the assailant continued the verbal harassment and then as soon as Marrerro turned around he was struck by a wooden plank.
“I walk across the street and when he sees him he starts cussing at me and calling me names. I don’t understand,” Marrero recalled, sharing that he didn’t know why the man continued to target him. “I turned my back and he ran and picked up a 2-by-4 and smacked me in the head, knocking me unconscious and busting my skull wide open. I ended up with eight stitches.”
Marrero stated that upon waking up covered in his blood on the ground alone, he staggered toward a fence to gain balance and realized he was stuck multiple times in the back as well. After the brutal assault, he was rushed to the Brookdale University Hospital emergency room still gushing blood.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Marrero wound up handcuffed to his bed after responding officers found that he had an active warrant from several decades ago.
“Here is the worst thing, after I went to the hospital [officers] ran my name and found a bench warrant from 42 years ago. I was 18-year-old. It was a misdemeanor that never should have existed,” Marrero said.
So nursing a concussion and a head wound, he was forced to remain in jail before being transported to 100 Centre St. — where the warrant was deemed to be a mistake.
“I go to the precinct, stay there till the next day and they drive me down to 100 Centre handcuffed to the back of the car and 30 hours later after going through all of this the officers were told by clerk ‘Take the handcuff off that man, get him out of your car and let him go. He has no warrants. This is a mistake in the system,’” Marrero said.
“I suffered from the hospital bed from 11 at night on June 17 to Friday afternoon,” Marrero said.
Now 57, the father says he is working with the NYPD in hopes of having his assailant apprehended. He also states that he is concerned for his son’s mental health, is hoping to flee Brownsville following the two traumatic incidents in the span of half a year.
“When my son saw me, he said he had a flashback of when that lady was chopped up with the machete,” Marrero said, adding “My son has gone through too much. I have to get out of this neighborhood. I have to get out of Brownsville.”
Marrero prides himself on being the best father possible, and he feels that to protect his family he has to move out of Brownsville to keep his family safe.