A 9-year-old Bronx boy who had been thrown from the roof of his apartment building was able to identify his attacker to a police officer, and that led to the arrest of a neighbor, the police said on Saturday.
Officers found the victim on the ground in front of the five-story brick building about 8:30 p.m. on Friday after receiving a 911 call. He was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital, where he was listed in critical condition Saturday with “severe body trauma” and was on life support, a police official said.
Neighbors at the building, at 1545 Nelson Avenue in Morris Heights, described the boy on Saturday as a friendly, extroverted child who was quick to greet people in the hallways. They said that he and other children sometimes played on the roof.
One neighbor, Wanda Simonetti, 59, who lives in the apartment below the boy’s, said she peered from her window on Friday night after hearing the wail of ambulance sirens and saw him lying on the sidewalk.
“He was unrecognizable,” Ms. Simonetti said. “I heard him on the ground calling, ‘Mommy, Mommy’; he was in pain.”
As the boy was being driven to the hospital, the police official said, he told an officer that a 17-year-old neighbor, Casmine Aska, had thrown him from the roof after they had some sort of dispute.
“He named him,” the official said on Saturday. “The boy named the suspect.”
The official added that detectives were investigating the possibility that Mr. Aska had forcibly taken the boy from his apartment.
Mr. Aska was stopped by officers as he was leaving the building with his mother and a brother. He was charged with attempted murder on Saturday.
During questioning by investigators, the police said, Mr. Aska gave conflicting accounts of what had happened with the boy on the roof.
“He gave several versions,” the official said. “He wasn’t there, he was up there, he tried to help him.”
The police said that Mr. Aska had visited another apartment after leaving the roof and before trying to leave the building. On Saturday, detectives were still investigating what transpired on the roof.
A police official said Mr. Aska had a juvenile record that was sealed. Nobody answered the door at his apartment on Saturday.
Neighbors said the victim and a younger brother of Mr. Aska were among several children in the building who played together in the halls, in front of the building and on the silver-colored roof, where satellite television dishes crowd together, pointed at the sky.
“All the kids run up there and play,” said one neighbor, Philip Rivera. “It’s shocking to me that this happened.”