A New York City police officer who was bashed in the head with a chair during a deadly brawl at a nail salon has emerged from a medically induced coma, reports say.
Law enforcement sources told the New York Post that officer Lesly Lafontant can now recognize people and is speaking following the incident Friday at the Goldmine Nails Spa in Brooklyn. As of Monday, the 53-year-old remains hospitalized with broken orbital bones and an eye injury, they added.
“He has some very serious injuries but it’s a good sign that he’s sitting up,” one source told the newspaper, while noting “he has a long road ahead of him.”
The brawl unfolded Friday when Lafontant was trying to arrest a man accused of urinating inside the business. While trying to take that individual into custody, a man identified by the New York Post as T-shirt vendor Kwesi Ashun entered the store, grabbed a metal chair and started striking Lafontant in the head, police say.
An officer with Lafontant tried to stop the attack by deploying a Taser, but it was ineffective, according to investigators. Lafontant eventually fired his weapon six times at Ashun, striking him at least once in the head and leaving him dead at the scene, the New York Post reported.
The man accused of urinating and sparking the original call was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. He was freed without bail Saturday pending his participation in a supervised release program, according to the New York Daily News.
Ashun had a history of mental illness and was accused of slashing another NYPD officer in 2004, the New York Post reported.