Assemblyman Ron Kim was involved in a heroic scene Thursday after he chased down a panhandling purse-snatcher in Flushing and tackled him down to the floor until the arrival of police.
Kim was walking to his office at around 12:40 p.m. with an assistant when he saw the allegedly homeless suspect running down Main Street following an attempt to steal a 29-year-old woman’s purse from a stroller containing her infant child.
“At that moment it struck a chord because it could have been my family or mother or my infant walking around Main Street, just like they do every day,” Kim told The Courier, “and I just wanted to make sure I offered my services.”
A man described by Kim as a “good Samaritan” was chasing the man at the time, followed by the frantic woman and an elderly female family member pushing the victim’s child behind in the stroller.
According to Kim, when he spoke to the woman he was able to find out that the man had first asked her for money, and when she refused he was thwarted in the robbery attempt by the good Samaritan.
A nearby crowd had tried to subdue the man after the incident but the suspect—who was later identified by police as 25-year-old Daniel Fish — was able to escape in time for the lawmaker to see him disappear into the busy street.
Kim was in the process of calling authorities on his cellphone when an employee from a nearby bakery pointed out a commercial building she had seen the suspect enter near 38th Avenue and Main Street.
He was still on the phone when the suspect emerged from the building, and although he was in different clothing than he had been seen wearing earlier, the “good Samaritan” and others at the scene identified the man as the woman’s attacker.
It was then that Kim—a former varsity football player and wrestler—subdued the man in what he described as a double leg takedown.
“My gut instinct was that I have to take him down because if I give him a chance to do something stupid, people might be hurt, or I might be hurt,” he said.
Police from the nearby 109th Precinct arrived on the scene shortly after to take the man into custody. He was charged with grand larceny.
The legislator said that this incident brought to light the larger issue of homelessness in Flushing, and more should be done to find a long-term solution for individuals living on the streets.
He said he will follow up with authorities to learn more about the man’s history, and has contacted the mayor’s office for help from City Hall in fighting homelessness in the area.