Young tourist from Tennessee assaulted near Central Park, New Yorkers step in and help

Young tourist from Tennessee assaulted near Central Park, New Yorkers step in and help

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NEW YORK — A vacation turned into a nightmare for a teenager from Nashville. He was assaulted in an unprovoked attack near Central Park.

On Thursday, CBS2’s Tim McNicholas spoke with the young man and his family about how New Yorkers stepped up to help.

“They think it’s a fractured nose,” Caleb Chittom said.

They are not the images Chittom planned to capture Wednesday. The 17-year-old artist wanted to take photos and sketch the beauty of Central Park with his parents.

But he said on the way there, “Some guy was walking behind me and I turned around and he just punched me.”

“This guy just right-hooks him and he’s down. At that moment, I saw my child like fall into the street,” Lynn-nore Chittom said.

It happened Wednesday afternoon at 66th Street and Central Park West, before the family even crossed the street into the park. They said they’re lucky traffic wasn’t moving when Caleb fell into the street.

“Well, I basically just toppled to the ground, pooling blood around me. Well, not around me, around my nose, really,” he said.

City-wide, assaults are up about 16 percent compared to this time in 2021.

The Chittoms said the man who punched him took off into the park.

“He had a lot of bags on him, so he just seemed kind of like a homeless guy to us,” Thom Chittom said.

Stunned, Thom and Lynn-nore tried to help their son, but they weren’t the only ones to do so. A doorman rushed out and gave Caleb napkins for his bloody nose. Another man quickly called 911.

“At exactly the moment we needed to take care of him, New Yorkers were suddenly taking care of us,” Lynn-nore Chittom said.

And the support didn’t stop there.

The Holiday Inn Financial District heard what happened and upgraded and discounted the Chittom’s room, and local entrepreneur Eytan Sugarman treated them to a free dinner at his restaurant, Hunt & Fish Club.

“It’s really great to see not just New Yorkers, but people showing others kindness,” Caleb Chittom said.

“Most of the people around you are just good people living their lives,” Thom Chittom added.

After a few hours in the hospital, Caleb and his parents returned to the park so he could finally do those sketches. They won’t let that man ruin their vacation.

Police are still looking for him.

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