New York man charged in alleged 'knockout' attacks, officials say

A 35-year-old New York man was charged with felony and misdemeanor assault in what police said were six "knockout" attacks, including assaults on three elderly women and a woman walking with her daughter, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said Monday.

Barry Baldwin, a Brooklyn resident, was charged with three felony counts of assault, three misdemeanor counts of assault and other crimes in connection with a spate of attacks between November 9 and December 27 in predominantly Jewish sections of Brooklyn.

Earlier, police had held Baldwin on preliminary hate-crime charges, including assault as a hate crime and aggravated assault as a hate crime. But the district attorney's office did not file any such counts.

A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office declined to say why it did not pursue the hate-crime charges recommended by police, except to say that the office filed only the charges that could be supported by evidence.

On November 9, police said, Baldwin allegedly punched a 78-year-old woman who was pushing a stroller -- apparently as part of the "knockout" assault game, in which people try to knock a random stranger unconscious with a single blow. The victim was knocked to the ground.

On December 7, he allegedly struck again, punching a 20-year-old woman in the back of the head in Brooklyn.

Between December 21 and December 27, Baldwin allegedly assaulted four more women, including a 33-year-old woman who was walking with her young daughter; a 78-year-old woman; and a 71-year-old woman.

After the attack on the woman walking with her 7-year-old daughter in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, police released a sketch of a suspect. The mother was punched in the back of the head and knocked down, police said. She suffered minor injuries to her knees and hands. The suspect ran away.

Baldwin was arrested December 29 by detectives canvassing the neighborhoods where the previous attacks had occurred, police said. He was charged after witnesses identified him in a police lineup.

Baldwin faces three felony assault counts because three of the victims are senior citizens. In New York, intentionally injuring someone 65 or older is a Class D felony when the attacker is at least 10 years younger than the victim.

At least nine suspected "knockout" attacks have been reported since October in New York, but police have said they see no evidence of a trend.

Authorities have reported similar incidents in New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri and Washington.

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