By Ben Fractenberg, Nicole Bode and Murray Weiss
MANHATTAN — Police are searching for a homeless man who allegedly stabbed his 82-year-old aunt in the head and arm inside her Harlem apartment, police sources said.
Larry Brown, 57, attacked Mazie Garris inside her apartment at West 139th Street near Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. shortly after 11 a.m. Monday morning, police and police sources said.
It wasn't immediately clear why Brown attacked Garris, who was home with her husband Boatman Garris, 85, before the attack. The couple own the building, according to records with the Department of Finance.
Mazie Garris fled the building and somehow made her way down the block to 218 W. 139th Street, where she had to be removed on a stretcher by emergency crews, witnesses said.
"Her head was covered with blood," said a witness who gave her name only as Wilhemina.
Police sources said the couple was home when Brown knocked on the door and she let him in. Brown had been known around the neighborhood as a handyman willing to do odd jobs for cash, neighbors said.
Neighbors said the woman's husband told them after the attack that the Brown pulled out a machete and demanded money from the couple, and when they refused to turn it over, he became enraged and attacked his aunt.
Mazie Garris was rushed to Harlem Hospital where she is expected to survive, police and fire officials said. Boatman Garris was not physically harmed, called 911 after the attack and was taken away in shock, sources said. He was at Harlem Hospital Monday night visiting his wife, friends said
Neighbors said the couple have owned the building for decades, and looked out for the safety of others, including once chasing off a would-be car thief.
"She's a very sweet, elderly lady, knows your name, always has something sweet to say," said a neighbor who declined to give her full name, but who's been living in the building for decades.
"I was shocked, she is a beautiful person," said Kate Lewis, 68, a neighbor who's lived across the street from the victim for four decades.
Brown was last seen wearing black pants and a black t-shirt, and is described as 5-foot-7-inches and weighing 170 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or text their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
All calls are confidential.