BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A Brooklyn man accused of punching a father of two off his bike and causing him to hit his head, leaving him in a coma, could face more serious charges as prosecutors bring his case before a grand jury, officials said.
Gary Anderson, 26, was initially only charged with misdemeanor assault after police arrested him last week and accused him of punching Domingo Diego-Tapia, 38, off his bike and causing him to hit his head on the pavement on June 8, leaving Diego-Tapia in a medically induced coma, prosecutors said.
He currently faces a maximum of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor charge.
However, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office is looking to hit Anderson with stiffer charges considering the severity of Diego-Tapia’s injuries and the apparent randomness of the attack, a spokesman said.
“We take this tragic case very seriously and have met with the victim’s family,” the spokesman said. “We intend to present this case to a grand jury to seek upgraded charges so that justice is done, because the defendant struck a completely innocent man.”
Anderson could face charges reckless endangerment, felony assault, or depraved indifference, depending on the grand jury’s decision, a law enforcement source said.
Anderson was arrested last week after a tipster spotted him working out at a Blink Fitness gym in Brooklyn and notified police, according to an NYPD spokesman. He was arraigned on Friday and ordered held on $10,000 bail, and was released on bail over the weekend, records show.
Answering the door at his Bed-Stuy home on Monday, Anderson shooed a DNAinfo reporter away while proclaiming his innocence.
“I ain’t accused of nothing, I’m home,” he said from a second-floor window after shutting the door in a reporter’s face.
Anderson is due back in court Wednesday, records show.
Diego Tapia was riding his bike home just before 1:30 a.m. on June 8 when he rode past Anderson near Fulton Street and Albany Ave., when Anderson swung at the cyclist once, knocking him to the pavement, officials said.
Three weeks after the attack Diego-Tapia is breathing on his own but remains in a medically induced coma more than three weeks after the attack, according to his wife, Esther Diaz, 33, who said she still has not told their two young sons the full extent of their father’s injuries.
“I tell them that he has a fever and that he’s going to sleep and he’s going to sleep until he wakes up,” she said in Spanish.
Upon learning of Anderson’s arrest last week, Diaz said she hoped he would stay in jail.
“I don’t want him to be able to damage another family the way he hurt mine,” she said.
A crowdfunding page set up to help Diaz pay her husband’s medical bills and travel to and from Kings County Hospital has raised more than $16,000 so far but is still short of its $50,000 goal.
The attack received significant attention from cycling advocates and local officials, who held a vigil June 20 near where Diego-Tapia was attacked. A spokesman for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who at the vigil offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the attacker’s arrest, said in a statement Tuesday that he hoped for felony charges against Anderson.
“At a minimum, this suspect should be charged with felony reckless endangerment,” said Stefan Ringel, Adams’ press secretary. “We urge our community to continue supporting the Tapia family in this difficult time.”
Anderson appeared in Brooklyn criminal court Wednesday and the case was adjourned to Aug. 16, but his next court date is subject to change if a grand jury indicts him before that, according to Judge Michael Kitsis.
Gwynne Hogan contributed reporting.