THE BRONX — A street-vendor group launched a fundraiser for one of their own who had his skull broken during a beating by five men who attacked him for stopping one of them from stealing a purse he was selling, police said.
As of Friday morning, the fund had raised just over $1,100 for Souleymane Porgo's medical costs after the attack near East 149th Street and Third Avenue, according to the GoFundMe page set up by the Street Vendor Project.
We created a Go Fund Me page to gather support for Souleymane. Please consider a donation. https://t.co/qkMPlSHlx4— StreetVendorProject (@VendorPower) May 5, 2017
Porgo, 53, had stopped a man from stealing a purse from his table on Tuesday, but the man returned with four friends about 5 p.m. and attacked the vendor, knocking him to the ground, where they continued to pummel him as his wife and daughters looked on in horror, according to witnesses and NYPD officials said.
"They did this in front of his kids. They were both under 6 years old. One was yelling, 'Daddy!' But he was stiff like a board. I thought he was dead," said longtime friend Amalio Garcia, 35.
"The wife said, 'They hit him! He's dead!' He was bleeding from the mouth," Garcia added.
Porgo, an African immigrant who's worked as a vendor for more than a decade, was taken to Lincoln Medical Center in critical condition, friends and officials said.
"They took a piece of his skull out. He's got maybe 200 staples. He's got a machine he's hooked up to. He's breathing, but not on his own. He's fighting for his life right now," Garcia said.
"He's still on medication. He looks very swollen. I want to cry. He's in bad shape. His face looks like a soccer ball."
Video of the attack captured the suspects beating Porgo, with one walking toward the camera while eating food.
None of the suspects had been arrested as of Friday morning, a police spokeswoman said.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).