Rogers Jackson, 18, a student at the Harbor School on Governors Island, started grabbing candy from a newsstand at Pearl and Whitehall streets at about 4 p.m. on Oct. 28 and threw it at vendor Manuel Baquero, who has worked at the stand for more than a decade, according to police reports and witnesses.
When Baquero stepped out of the newsstand to stop the teen, the young man and two other teens began to beat him, punching him multiple times in the back of the head, Baquero told police. Baquero was also cut on his left thumb, police said.
At some point during the attack, Baquero slashed Jackson across the face with a box cutter, in what Baquero said was self defense, leaving Jackson with a deep gash, police said.
Jackson was taken to Bellevue hospital, where he required surgery and 40 stitches, 1st Precinct Commanding Officer Brendan Timoney said at a 1st Precinct Community Council meeting last week.
Police quickly arrived at the newsstand and arrested everyone involved in the incident.
Baquero was charged with first-degree felony assault.
Jackson and his two 17-year-old classmates — Travis Peckoo and Raymond Campbell — were charged with first-degree attempted gang assault and two counts of second-degree assault, according to criminal complaints from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Jackson, who was hospitalized at Bellevue, had not been arraigned as of Friday.
Food cart workers near the newsstand described the fight as chaotic, with a group of teens crowding around the brawl and bystanders rushing over to offer assistance.
"At first I just thought it was teenagers being a little rowdy when I heard yelling, but then I saw people running to help," said Amir Ahmed, who works at a nearby food cart. "[Baquero]'s a really nice old man."
A court-appointed lawyer for Baquero and Peckoo declined to comment. A lawyer for Campbell did not immediately return call for comment. Information about Jackson's lawyer was not immediately available.
The Harbor School, a technical high school on Governors Island, has a maritime-based curriculum in which students do hands-on projects including restoring oysters to New York Harbor. Students travel by ferry from Lower Manhattan to Governors Island to attend the school.
The Department of Education and the Harbor School did not immediately respond to requests for comment.