A convicted sex offender who allegedly cold-cocked a man on a Bronx street — causing a brain bleed that required surgery — was freed without bail Thursday after getting his attempted murder charges reduced in the unprovoked attack.
Bui Van Phu, 55, was instead charged by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office with assault and harassment, both misdemeanors, for the brutal knockout punch last Friday that left the 52-year-old victim unconscious on the street, according to a criminal complaint.
He required brain surgery and is now in a medically induced coma, authorities said.
The new charges against Phu are not bail eligible, and a Bronx judge cut Phu loose on supervised release at his arraignment Thursday, a spokesperson for the Bronx DA’s office said.
The NYPD had charged Phu with attempted murder after arresting him Wednesday for the attack, that appeared to have come out of the blue.
Phu allegedly confessed to the crime to his parole officer, according to the complaint against him.
“I hit someone and he’s in the hospital. I don’t know if he’s dead. The police are looking for me,” he told the officer, according to the complaint.
Phu and the victim did not know each other and there did not appear to be any interaction between them prior to the punch, police said.
The victim, shown in surveillance footage carrying a backpack, was leaving the Fuego Tipico Restaurant on East 188th Street near the Grand Concourse in Fordham Manor around 10:45 p.m. on Aug. 12 when he stopped near a group of people chatting outside.
He was followed out by a balding man wearing a black T-shirt — who put on what appear to be work gloves before randomly slugging the victim from behind, causing him to fall onto the sidewalk and hit his head, the footage released Wednesday shows.
“The police charged him with Attempted Murder and when we got the case we evaluated and charged based on evidence we had. The investigation is continuing,” the DA’s Office spokesperson said.
Phu was convicted of first-degree sex abuse 1995 for abusing a 17-year-old girl. He was sentenced to six years to life in prison and was paroled in 2019, according to state records.
He is now registered as a Level 3 sex offender, the most serious designation.
The victim was taken to Jacobi Medical Center with a skull fracture, broken cheekbone and bleeding in the brain, according to authorities.
The attack came just a day before Queens taxi driver Kutin Gyimah was beaten to death by five customers who allegedly attacked him when he tried to confront them for running off without paying the fare.
Two suspects, Austin Amos and Nickolas Porter, both 20, surrendered to cops at the 101st Precinct in Queens late Wednesday.
Porter was charged with gang assault and theft of service while Amos was hit with theft of service, assault, gang assault and manslaughter raps for allegedly delivering the final blow that killed Gyimah, a 52-year-old father of four.
Three other suspects, including two teenage girls, are still wanted in connection with the incident, police said.
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