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Hammer Attacker Was a 'Ticking Time Bomb,' Neighbors Say

 David Baril, who is accused of attacking at least four women, including a police officer, with a hammer, had a number of violent and disturbing images on his social media accounts.
David Baril
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SPUYTEN DUYVIL — Former neighbors of the accused serial hammer attacker who was shot by police after striking an NYPD officer described him as a "ticking time bomb" prone to mood swings when not taking his medication. 

Those who knew David Baril, 30, were saddened to hear he'd been shot Wednesday morning after attacking an NYPD officer with a hammer. However, they were not surprised.

Neighbors at the apartment building where Baril grew up and lived periodically with his mother until last year said that Baril’s mental health had been deteriorating for years.

“We knew he was a ticking time bomb,” said Donald Feldman, who has lived in the apartment below Baril and his mother since they moved in in the late 1980s.



A photo posted by Davidb (@davidbaril277) on

Feldman said that Baril engaged in bizarre behaviors that sometimes intimidated other residents, including standing for hours in the lobby with his forehead against the wall and punching the door of his apartment.

Police suspect that Baril attacked three women and one man with a hammer in Manhattan on Monday. These are not the first violent incidents in which Baril has been implicated.

In 2013, Baril attempted to assault an officer in a Riverdale park when he was issued a summons, police said. Baril was also charged with assault in March for punching an employee at a Bronx location of Kennedy Fried Chicken.

Baril, who police said suffers from paranoia and schizophrenia, was in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital after being shot in the arm and torso by police Wednesday morning.

Neighbors said that Baril has not always been unstable.

A female neighbor who lived on the same floor that he did said that Baril used to deliver the Avon products she ordered from his mother when he was a child.

“He was an outgoing young man,” she said. “He was very bright.”

The woman, who did not want to give her name, said that she saw Baril regress over the years.

“I don’t think I had heard a word out of his mouth in 20 years,” the woman said. “He would hold the elevator door for me, but he stopped speaking.”


Camo mouth

A photo posted by Davidb (@davidbaril277) on

Hammer Attack Video
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The woman said that although Baril’s behavior was odd, she had never been afraid of him.

“My heart is sick over the whole thing,” she said. “I wouldn’t have imagined him doing anything violent.”

But other neighbors said they had seen a more aggressive side.

Fred Fata, a retired NYPD detective who has lived in the building for 35 years, said he once had an altercation with Baril. He tried to speak to Baril about standing in the lobby, a behavior that intimidated some female residents, Fata said.

“I said it to him nicely,” Fata said. “He turned around and shoved me. I had to push him against the mailboxes and tell him, ‘Don’t do that again.’”

Fata, who also watched Baril grow up, said he seemed to be on and off psychiatric medications.

“When he was on his meds, he was a gentleman,” he said. “Off of them, he was a zombie.”

It was unclear whether or not Baril was on his medications at the time of the attacks this week, police said.

Baril’s social media accounts show a man who likes to draw, write poetry and skateboard. Some of the drawings Baril posted to his Instagram account feature violent images, including one of a hammer dripping blood. He last posted to his account in January.

In one post, Baril appeared to call himself "the most dangerous man alive."

Fata said that during the past few years, Baril held down a job as a security guard. However, he was fired or lost that job some time last year, Fata said.

Baril’s mother was evicted from the apartment, and neighbors said the pair created conditions that made the building unlivable for fellow tenants.

“They were the tenants from hell,” said Feldman, who lived directly below Baril and his mother. “After they flooded my apartment for the fifth time in three years, I went on a rent strike.”

Feldman said his neighbors also caused a cockroach infestation in his apartment. Although they lived above him for more than 25 years, Feldman said conditions really worsened over the past decade.

Documents confirm that the landlord, Heskell Riverdale LLC, did bring eviction proceedings against a woman at the address. Her name is also listed as a trustee on a savings account for David Baril.

Baril’s last known residence was at a mental health facility on West 113th Street, police said. He voluntarily left the facility in December 2014 or January 2015. It was unclear where he is currently living.

Fata said he last saw Baril on West 233rd Street about a month ago and that he did not seem well.

“I said hi to him and he didn’t even look at me,” Fata said. “He had lost most of his front teeth. He seemed completely out of it.”