HARLEM — Police are looking for a suspect who they say shoved an unsuspecting 45-year-old man into moving traffic Tuesday morning while he was crossing 126th Street between Lenox and Fifth avenues.
The sudden shove was so hard that the victim's feet left the ground and he was launched into the rear passenger door of a moving car about 9:40 a.m., police and witnesses said.
"If he had been pushed a microsecond earlier he would have been killed," said Eric Nunlee, 36, a creative director who witnessed the incident as he was jogging along 126th Street.
Nunlee said the man had a messenger bag and was simply walking across the street before the suspect shoved him in the chest using both hands.
Police said the two men did not know each other.
Nunlee said he ran over and helped pick the shocked, bleeding and confused man off the ground and walked him to the steps of a brownstone.
The victim suffered lacerations on both elbows and was taken to Harlem Hospital with minor injuries, police said.
The man's identity was not released.
Nunlee said he heard the suspect say the victim was "all in my face." The alleged perpetrator, who appeared to be in his early 20s, walked away from the scene, he added.
"It hurt me so bad because the guy was doing absolutely nothing," Nunlee said. "It was such a malicious, mean, evil, disgusting and despicable act."
Carmao Benitez, 65, has lived in the area for a decade. He saw the victim on the ground and was there when five or six police cars and an ambulance showed up.
"I was surprised when I heard what happened," he said. "The guy looked like a normal decent guy going to work."