“Mommy! Mommy!” Freddy Martin cried out, unable to move, as he lay on the concrete sidewalk in front of the Nelson Ave. building in Morris Heights, witnesses said.
“I looked out the window and was scared,” said neighbor Wanda Simonetti. “I saw his body on the ground.”
Emergency workers initially suspected the critically injured boy took a spill from the fire escape outside his third-floor apartment around 8:30 p.m. Friday — until he managed to tell a cop that he was pushed, police sources said.
Before losing consciousness, Freddy told the officer during an ambulance ride to New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center in upper Manhattan that a neighbor, Casmine Aska, tossed him off the roof of the brick walkup, the sources said. “The kid told a cop, when they were going to the hospital, that he was thrown from the roof,” a source said. “The boy named the suspect.”
Once the child arrived at the hospital, doctors placed him on life-support. He remained in grave condition with severe body trauma on Saturday.
Investigators later learned that Aska, who lived on the fourth floor, grabbed the child from his apartment and dragged him up to the roof, sources and witnesses said.
Freddy’s grandmother, who was baby-sitting him in the apartment, didn’t immediately realize the child had even left the home. She told neighbors the boy was lying down and disappeared after he got up to get a drink.
“(Freddy) was screaming,” said one neighbor, who ran outside her first-floor pad when she heard “a commotion” upstairs. “He was saying, ‘Stop!’ ” said the neighbor, who did not want to give her name. She said the echoes of “laughing and hooting” sounded like a group of kids horsing around in the hallway.
“That door (to the roof) is always open,” said Wanda Simonetti. “People have complained to the super, but nothing happens.”
The presumed shenanigans came to a tragic end when everyone in the building heard the child screaming for his mother — and saw his little body sprawled on the sidewalk.
Sources said there’s “physical evidence” showing Freddy was dragged from his apartment and pushed off the roof, and Aska was charged with attempted murder on Saturday. “They’re detaining my son,” said a woman who identified herself as Aska’s mother outside the precinct building. “They won’t tell me anything. They won’t let me see my son.”
It’s not the first time Aska has been in trouble with the law. He has four prior arrests that include collars for robbery, assault, harassment and menacing, law enforcement sources said.
Some neighbors were shocked that Aska was cuffed for such a heinous crime. “He’s a good kid,” Simonetti said. “I never would believe he would try to hurt his friend.”
Freddy’s grandfather, who gave his name as Juan, said the family was stunned. “I don’t know how this happened,” he said in Spanish. “He’s a good boy.”
The family is praying for Freddy. “He’s not doing so well,” Juan said. “We are holding out hope.”