EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 18, 2013

Speedy recovery for attack victim

Central hockey star may be home tomorrow after brutal NYC beating

By Keith Eddings and Dustin Luca
Staff Writers

---- — Kevin McCarron was walking around the halls of a New York City hospital yesterday and may be home by tomorrow, six days after the former Central Catholic High School honor student and hockey star was clubbed into unconsciousness and left for dead with a fractured skull on a city street.

“I just heard that Kevin is doing really well,” Central Catholic’s director of alumni relations, Zibby McCleary, said in an email to the school’s faculty and staff late Wednesday night. “They are very hopeful that he will come home Saturday.”

In a second internal email, McCleary confirmed that McCarron’s brother, Patrick, also was injured in the attack, but said his injuries were not serious.

Kevin McCarron, now 24, graduated from the Lawrence school in 2007. His brother graduated in 2005.

“It is going to be a long recovery, but he’s on the right track,” McCleary said about Kevin McCarron. “He has many Central friends by his side and supporting his family, who are very thankful for all the well wishes.”

The recovery may not be a full one. A New York City newspaper yesterday quoted unnamed police sources as saying McCarron may have permanent damage to his motor skills.

His parents, Timothy and Kathleen, have been at the hospital but have declined to be interviewed.

McCarron’s rapid recovery at Manhattan’s Weill Cornell Medical Center was occurring as the second of his alleged attackers was arraigned for second degree attempted murder and first degree gang assault in Manhattan Criminal Court just before midnight Wednesday.

Sherif Rizk, 22, of Brooklyn, was remanded back to the Manhattan Detention Complex after he was unable to post $15,000 cash bail or a $30,000 bond. He remained at the jail last night, according to the New York City Department of Corrections.

A second suspect, Hatem Farsakh, 24, also charged with attempted murder, has been released on $5,000 bail.

Both men pleaded not guilty and are due back in court this morning to learn whether a grand jury has voted to indict them, a process needed to upgrade the charges to felonies and move the case to state Supreme Court, which is New York State’s trial court.

New York City police have refused to release the incident report describing the lopsided attack, when Rizk, Farakh and five others allegedly set upon McCarron with a baseball bat, a tire iron and a blackjack as he and his brother and several others left a Greenwich Village pizzeria at 5:15 a.m. Sunday. The Manhattan DA’s complaint against Rizk described the incident in clinical but chilling language.

“The defendant and approximately six other people repeatedly beat (McCarron). . . about the head, face and body with three large hard objects,” the complaint says. It says McCarron fell to the ground, where the seven men “continued to beat (McCarron) with the objects and to kick him with their shod feet.”

An eyewitness captured the attack on video and posted it on YouTube.com. The brutal images show several men shouting vulgarities while clubbing a man who is on his knees and elbows. A woman can be heard screaming in terror but is not on the video.

Accounts of what provoked the attack have been conflicting. Yesterday, the New York Daily News quoted unnamed police sources saying it began with “a chest bump between McCarron’s eight person crew and Farsakh’s six person group.”

A reporter for the newspaper who visited Farsakh’s Brooklyn home said he appeared “to care more about his sandwich” than the allegations against him.

“I was eating a falafel sandwich at Mamoun’s — you guys know Mamoun’s? Great sandwich,” the newspaper reported Farsakh responded when asked to describe the incident. “So I come out and I see a crowd of people like pushing and shoving. I’m trying to break it up and I’m slapping them on the face. I’m like, ‘Wake up! You guys are drunk and s---. Let’s everybody go home.’ “

The attack threatened to cut short a life rich in athletics, scholarship and volunteerism. Besides making the National Honor Society each of his four years at Central Catholic, McCarron served as captain of the hockey and baseball teams and also played golf. He was named an Eagle-Tribune hockey all-star and received a Boston Bruins Sportsmanship Award in his senior year.

He graduated Providence College in Rhode Island in 2011 and now works for the Eliassen Group, a technology consulting and recruiting firm in Wakefield. He volunteered throughout college, including for the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence in Providence.

At the school yesterday, as students were taking mid-term and final exams, officials informed them of the attack on the public address system.

“A lot of kids never heard of Kevin McCarron or will never meet him, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t one of ours,” said Marc Pelletier, a teacher and former dean of students at Central Catholic and its baseball coach for 26 years. “Hell recover. He’s a strong kid.”

Pelletier recalled a baseball game with Amesbury High School when McCarron, a catcher, came to bat with the bases loaded after failing to get a hit in three times at bat. The game was tied 3-3 in the seventh inning.

McCarron hit a triple, driving in three runs and winning the game for Central.

“Kevin and I are walking off the field,” Pelletier remembered. “I’m congratulating him, one-on-one, as we’re heading toward the bus. Classic Kevin, in a deadpan voice, says, ‘That’s what you pay me to do, coach.’ I never laughed so hard.”

“I would have little doubt that this was anything more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said David DeFillippo, Central Catholic’s director of community relations, dismissing suggestions that McCarron may have provoked the attack. “There was nothing in his character that indicated it was anything more. Even when he played sports, he played with skill and with passion, but it was never out of control.”