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The suspect allegedly caught on video brutally sucker-punching a New York City pedestrian last week was arrested Friday for a parole violation, a day after he was taken into police custody and walked free after his charges were reportedly downgraded.
Bui Van Phu, a 55-year-old homeless man, was directed by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to report to his parole officer Friday morning, authorities said. He was arrested and is expected to appear before a judge within 24 hours.
On Thursday, he was released without bail during a court appearance after his initial attempted murder charge was downgraded.
“The Bronx District Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate the alleged attack on Jesus Cortes by defendant Bui Van Phu. The office is obtaining additional evidence, reviewing video, speaking to witnesses, analyzing medical records, and providing crime victim services,’ a statement from the office of Bronx County District Attorney Darcel Clark said. “The defendant is currently charged with third-degree Assault and second-degree Harassment, which are not bail eligible under our current laws.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the arrest at an unrelated news conference. She called the attack “horrific on all fronts” and said her office has been in contact with Clark to discuss what charges would be filed.
She said she directed corrections officials to determine whether Phu had committed a parole violation during the attack.
Phu allegedly approached Cortes just before 11 p.m. Aug. 12 and assaulted him as he was standing with a group after leaving a restaurant.
From behind, he allegedly delivers a hard blow to Cortes’ head, lying him out on the concrete. Police said the two had no interaction beforehand and that there’s no indication the alleged attacker and victim knew each other.
Cortes sustained a skull fracture, broken cheek and brain bleeding. He remains hospitalized.
Phu was previously convicted of first-degree sex abuse in the Bronx in 1995 and was sentenced to six years to life in prison. He was paroled in 2019 and is now registered as a Level 3 sex offender — the most serious designation — for sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl in 1994, according to state records.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.