A 24-year-old Queens man was awaiting arraignment last night in the midtown attack of a journalist who was left with severe head trauma.
Leighton Jennings was arrested at the Midtown North Precinct Tuesday night after being picked up in Queens, and charged with second degree assault for punching Randy Gener, 46, a gay, Filipino journalist and artist, police said.
Evidence did not support charging Jennings with a bias crime, police said.
Witnesses told cops a woman with Jennings got into an altercation with Gener near 54th Street on Seventh Avenue, after Gener and the woman bumped into each other in the early hours of Jan. 17.
Jennings allegedly interceded and punched Gener in the face, causing him to fall and crack his head on the sidewalk, officials said. Witness statements -- which included a license plate number of the Nissan in which Jennings allegedly fled -- were critical in the arrest, cops said.
Gener has undergone brain surgery St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center and is recovering in the ICU, according to friends and a web page set up to raise money for his medical expenses .
Gener's husband and sister released a statement saying "we are pleased and relieved that a suspect has finally been apprehended," and thanking the NYPD, the Filipino American and arts communities and the New York City Anti-Violence Project.