2nd Suspect Arrested Amid Series of Random Attacks in New York City

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
April 2, 2024New York
2nd Suspect Arrested Amid Series of Random Attacks in New York City
An NYPD police car in New York in a file photo. (Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

A second suspect has been charged for allegedly punching a New York woman in the face, just one of several victims who shared similar stories of unprovoked attacks on Tik Tok.

30-year-old Brooklyn resident Mallik Maiah was arrested in Greenwich Village on Friday in connection to an attack on a young student last week. The victim, 27-year-old Mikayla Toninato, posted a video on TikTok and told her followers she was “completely in shock” after she was sucker-punched in the face.

“I was literally leaving class. I turned the corner and I was looking down at my phone and texting. And then, out of nowhere, this man came and just hit me in the face,” she said in the video.

The victim said she reported the assault to police who reminded her that a drug rehabilitation center is located right next to her school. The suspect was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Ms. Toninato later warned her followers to be aware of their surroundings and to always have their “head on a swivel.”

Since the attack, she revealed that other women reached out to her and claimed the same attack happened to them.

“I have been able to identify that this man is the same as who hit a couple other girls. But what’s even scarier, there’s a lot of girls and our descriptions of this man are completely different, meaning there are multiple men going around doing this,” she said in a follow-up video.

Several videos went viral on social media in recent weeks by other women who described very similar, surprise attacks by strangers.

“Why are so many girls getting punched in the face in NYC?” one TikTok user commented.

Former “Apprentice” contestant and “Real Housewives” star Bethenny Frankel also revealed she was attacked in Manhattan but never shared her story because she was embarrassed.

Earlier this month, 40-year-old Skiboky Stora was charged with misdemeanor assault in connection to a separate assault in Manhattan in which social media influencer Halley Kate was punched while walking in the Chelsea neighborhood.

“Oh my God, it’s so bad. I can’t even talk,” she said in the now-viral TikTok video which has more than 5.4 million views.

Following the incident, the influencer suggested women should learn from her experience and refrain from looking down at their phones.

“Ladies, stay safe out there. Stay alert, okay?” she told her followers in another video.

It remains unclear exactly how many women have been attacked. But the unprovoked assaults have triggered major concerns among women who are now nervous about walking in broad daylight.

“Your officers will continue to remain resilient in their efforts to stop violent criminals, ensuring the safety of our communities,” said the NYPD in a previous statement following one of the attacks.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams referred to the attacks as unacceptable, despicable, anti-social behavior.

“They better hope that I’m not out on the street when I see that take place,” the mayor said.

He also expressed concern over potential attackers attempting to duplicate the attacks after watching the stories shared by women on social media.

New data from this past week shows that misdemeanor assault in New York City is up 10.3 percent from this time last year, and it has increased 15.7 percent over the past two years.

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