Downtown worker beaten for no reason by teen wolf pack

Downtown worker beaten for no reason by teen wolf pack
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A teen wolf pack that may be the same thugs who have terrorized Boerum Hill with violence and mayhem is wanted for the beating of a 49-year-old man who was on his way to the Long Island Rail Road terminal.

Long Island resident Don Eklund was on State Street between Bond and Nevins at around 4:30 pm on Dec. 2 when he was viciously assaulted by a barbaric band that literally broke his face.

Eklund, who is an imposing 6-foot-3, said he saw the young crew loitering on the picturesque block, and, as he passed, the tallest member of the group sucker-punched him on the right side of his face, shattering his cheekbone.

Dizzied and confused, Eklund was turned around and grazed by a glancing blow to the back of his skull.

That’s when he heard someone hiss, “You want more?”

Eklund, wisely, did not. He was able to escape to a nearby firehouse and eventually receive medical care.

Two surgeries and $20,000 in medical bills later, Eklund — who now has three metal plates in his face — was able to speak to this newspaper at the scene of the crime last week.

“What was really shocking was that it was random violence — this could happen to anybody,” he said. “This wasn’t a dark desolate block and it’s not a crappy neighborhood, but this could have been something out of a horror movie.”

The incident was actually the first of a series of attacks featuring packs of teens harassing, robbing, and assaulting strangers. In one case, a pregnant woman was bombed with snowballs by a callous 10-pack on Dean Street between Hoyt and Bond streets on Jan. 25. Our former intrepid reporter Andy Campbell was attacked and treated to a sinister snowjob by a cold-hearted band of creeps. And last week, two cold-hearted pre-teens chucked ice balls at a 60-year-old woman at St. Edwards Street and Myrtle Avenue, leaving their victim with a smattering of bruises.

Deputy Inspector Mark DiPaolo, commander of the 84th Precinct, recently said that he has deployed more beat cops throughout the precinct, which encompasses Boerum Hill, Vinegar Hill, DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights.

“We are out there,” he assured.

Community leaders said they are unsure about the cause of the spate of attacks.

“Let’s face facts, there are a lot fewer cops on the streets than we’ve had in the past,” said Rob Perris, district manager of Community Board 2, which encompasses Boerum Hill.

But civic stalwarts such as Howard Kolins, president of the Boerum Hill Association, said he isn’t concerned about a disturbing new trend reminiscent of the notorious wilding incidents of the 1980s.

“We are accustomed to a lower crime rate, but that doesn’t mean crime doesn’t exist. You have to be aware of your surroundings,” Kolins said, suggesting residents walk with a “buddy” to improve safety.

But Eklund’s no small-town yokel: the IBM project manager who works in the Metrotech Center grew up in Long Island and spent years in Manhattan’s Alphabet City and Hell’s Kitchen before they were fully gentrified. “I have street smarts,” he said.

He suspects his attack was likely a case of gang initiation, since he wasn’t robbed. “I helped a psycho get his wings.”

Here’s what Eklund looked like after the final procedure to reconstruct his face.