First arrest in teen group assault on firefighter

Police have arrested a 17-year-old boy in connection with a brutal attack on an off-duty FDNY firefighter on the Upper East Side.

The firefighter suffered a concussion and five broken teeth in the attack.  Damir Johnson of Manhattan was part of a group harassing an elderly couple, according to police. He faces assault charges.

The group was in front of 217 East 86th St. on Saturday, May 18 at about 9:25 a.m. when the harassment and subsequent assault occurred.

"He decided to step in a say 'leave them alone'," said FDNY Fire Chief Daniel Nigro."That's all that he did."

When the 38-year-old firefighter stepped in to try to stop the harassment, he was punched, thrown to the ground and repeatedly struck all over his body.  He was taken to Columbia Hospital for treatment.

"He broke five teeth. Can you imagine falling face forward without being able to break your fall? His face and his forward broke the fall," said FDNY Chief Daniel Nigro.

The children wanted for questioning were described as three females and three males, 15-17 years of age.

"I'm concerned that there are still people around who think this type of behavior is appropriate. They were youngsters. There are other ways to be out having a good time other than harassing people and seriously injuring one of our brave firefighters," said Nigro. 

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of these individuals is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Police say that all calls are strictly confidential.