May 5, 2021 By Allie Griffin
A 38-year-old homeless man died in hospital Tuesday after having been assaulted in Ridgewood days earlier.
Lukasz Ruszczyk, who was living on the streets of Ridgewood, succumbed to his injuries at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center nearly five days after he was assaulted by another homeless man, police said.
Ruszczyk was found intoxicated and beaten, laying on the sidewalk by a bus stop at Forest Avenue and Putnam Avenue on Friday, April 30 at 3 a.m. A witness called 911 and an ambulance rushed him to Wyckoff Heights, police said.
Doctors discovered that Ruszczyk had bruising about his torso and had suffered a severe brain injury — signs of an apparent assault. Hospital officials called officers from the 104th Precinct to investigate.
Police later learned that a woman had called 911 just before 6 p.m. on Thursday to report a group of homeless men fighting at the same location where Ruszczyk was found hours later.
Officers arrested 35-year-old Piotr Wilk, who is also homeless, on murder charges.
This was not the first time that Ruszczyk had been assaulted in Ridgewood, according to a report.
During an interview in March with a reporter from the Queens Eagle, Ruszczyk told the publication that someone had recently kicked him while he was sleeping in the Ridgewood area. He lifted his shirt and revealed a large bruise on his side to the reporter.
However, Ruszczyk — who said he became homeless last year due to a landlord/tenant dispute — told the publication he’d rather sleep on the street than in a crowded shelter.
“I went to a shelter. I was robbed several times,” he told the Eagle in March. “I’d rather freeze than go back.”
Department of Homeless Services workers had tried to convince Ruszczyk to move into a shelter multiple times to no avail, the publication reported.