(New York Post) A convicted sex offender who allegedly cold-cocked a man on a Bronx street — leaving him in a coma with brain injuries — was freed without bail Thursday after getting his attempted-murder charges reduced in the unprovoked attack.
Bui Van Phu, 55, was instead charged by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office with assault and harassment, both misdemeanors, for the brutal knockout punch last Friday that left 52-year-old Jesus Cortes unconscious on the street, according to a criminal complaint.
The victim required brain surgery and is now in a medically induced coma, authorities said.
The new charges against Phu are not bail eligible, and a Bronx judge cut him loose on supervised release at his arraignment Thursday, a spokesperson for the DA’s Office said.
The NYPD had charged Phu with attempted murder after arresting him Wednesday for the attack that appeared to have come out of the blue.
“The police charged him with Attempted Murder and when we got the case we evaluated and charged based on evidence we had,” a DA’s Office spokesperson said. “The investigation is continuing.”
Phu allegedly confessed the crime to his parole officer, according to the complaint against him.
“I hit someone and he’s in the hospital. I don’t know if he’s dead,” he told the officer, according to the complaint. “The police are looking for me.”
Phu and Cortes did not know each other, and there did not appear to be any interaction between them prior to the punch, police said.
The victim was leaving the Fuego Tipico Restaurant on East 188th Street near the Grand Concourse in Fordham Manor around 10:45 p.m. on Aug. 12 when he stopped near a group of people chatting outside, cops said.
Cortes, shown in surveillance footage carrying a backpack, was followed out by a balding man wearing a black T-shirt.