Suspect accused of sucker-punching Steve Buscemi in random attack in NYC is identified

Buscemi, 66, was left with bruising, swelling and bleeding to his left eye and taken to hospital

Amelia Neath,Nicole Vassell
Wednesday 15 May 2024 14:30 BST
Suspect IDed in Steve Buscemi assault

The man who allegedly sucker-punched Hollywood star Steve Buscemi on the street in New York City has been identified by police as the search continues for his whereabouts.

Clifton Williams, 50, was identified as a suspect by the New York Police Department on Tuesday amid an ongoing investigation. No arrests have been made.

Surveillance footage of the man was released on Monday, showing him in a blue shirt, black pants and baseball cap, wearing white sneakers and carrying a book bag.

Buscemi, star of the Coen brothers film Fargo and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, was randomly assaulted in New York City on 8 May.

The attack occurred near 369 Third Avenue in the Kips Bay area of Manhattan shortly before noon and left Buscemi, 66, with bruising, swelling and bleeding to his left eye. He was taken to nearby Bellevue Hospital for treatment, according to police.

Buscemi had been leaning up against a wall, texting on his phone, at the time of the attack, according to NBC New York.

The NYPD has released images of the suspect in the Steve Buscemi attack in Manhattan
The NYPD has released images of the suspect in the Steve Buscemi attack in Manhattan (NYPD via PIX11 News)

On Sunday, Mr Buscemi’s publicist shared a statement updating the public on his condition.

Steve Buscemi was assaulted in Midtown Manhattan, another victim of a random act of violence in the city,” the statement reads. “He is OK and appreciates everyone’s well wishes, though incredibly sad for everyone that this has happened to while also walking the streets of NY.”

An onlooker described the attack to the New York Post but said that she didn’t see what the assailant looked like.

“I saw he was with a woman, and then through the corner of the window I saw him trip and fall backwards,” the woman told the Post. “He right away got up and ran in the opposite direction... I didn’t see who hit him.”

Mr Buscemi was born in Brooklyn, New York City and has lived in the city for most of his life. In the 1980s, Mr Buscemi was an FDNY firefighter before leaving the profession to pursue an acting career. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Buscemi returned to his old department for volunteer shifts and searched for missing firefighters under the rubble.

Overall crime is declining in New York compared with the same period last year, according to the NYPD’s latest figures.

Actor Steve Buscemi was randomy assaulted and taken to hospital last week in New York City
Actor Steve Buscemi was randomy assaulted and taken to hospital last week in New York City (AP)

However, the number of felony assaults are on the rise with 9,189 complaints made this year up to 5 May – a 4 per cent rise from the same period in 2023.

There have been a number of random assaults on the streets of New York City in recent months. Buscemi’s Boardwalk Empire co-star Michael Stuhlbarg was assaulted at random earlier this year. Stuhlbarg was hit in the back of the neck with a rock while walking in Central Park on 31 March. Stuhlbarg chased his attacker, who was taken into custody outside the park. Police confirmed the following day that the alleged attacker was Xavier Israel, aged 27.

Days earlier, a man was charged with assault following reports that he had indiscriminately punched women in the face in a series of “unprovoked” attacks.

Skiboky Stora, 40, from Brooklyn, New York, was arrested after he took a swipe at TikToker, Halley Kate, in Manhattan. She posted it to her 1.2 million followers, with the clip quickly going viral.

Ms Kate sustained an injury to the left side of her face as she fell to the ground, according to the NYPD. The 23-year-old said the blow caused her to black out “for a second”.

“You guys, I was literally just walking and a man came up and punched me in the face,” she tearfully said in the video, just days before Mr Stora’s arrest.

There have also been a number of reports and allegations made on social media by women in New York City that they too have been victims of random and unprovoked attacks in the streets in recent months, and have warned other women to be aware of their surroundings.

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