9-year-old slugged by madman in Grand Central no longer smiles, too afraid to go outside: ‘I’m scared’

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A 9-year-old woman slugged successful nan look by a deranged bum man astatine Grand Central Terminal is now excessively acrophobic to spell extracurricular — and has moreover stopped smiling, she and her mom told The Post. 

“I’m frightened that thing for illustration this will hap to maine again,” Kimberly Tapia said successful Spanish, clutching her mom successful their Mott Haven, Bronx, apartment.

“I’m frightened and I don’t want to beryllium happy anymore,” nan third-grader said. “What if personification other does thing bad to maine again?”

Kimberly Tapia, 9, was struck by a maniac successful Grand Central Terminal while stepping pinch her mom Juana Tapia. J.C. Rice
The woman was near pinch bruises connected her assemblage aft she fell to nan level erstwhile she was slugged. Courtesy of nan Tapia family

Mom Juana Tapia and Kimberly were successful nan historical station’s eating concourse April 13 when, retired of nan blue, Jean Carlos Zarzuela — who was freed without bail conscionable days earlier aft allegedly slugging a female successful nan aforesaid position — deed nan woman connected nan correct broadside of her look and head, cops said.

The mom had conscionable bought Kimberly a cooky and a croissant and was stepping down her girl pinch a cousin.

“I was putting nan money successful my pouch and each of nan abrupt my relative said, ‘Kimberly, what happened?’ and she had fallen to nan ground,” recalled nan 36-year-old mom. “She said, ‘Mama, mama, my caput hurts truthful much.’”

Jean Carlos Zarzuela allegedly deed nan woman connected nan correct broadside of her look and head, cops said. NYPD

“Then, different female came and she said, ‘A man deed her,'” nan mom recalled. “So we picked her up. She was crying.”

The 150-pound, 30-year-old goon struck nan 4-foot-8, 100-pound kid truthful difficult her look was reddish and swollen, nan mom said.

She besides had bruises connected her assemblage from falling.

Zarzuela was caught connected surveillance video fleeing nan Midtown station, and MTA Police tracked him to nan Lexington Avenue-125th Street position successful East Harlem, cops said.

The position is adjacent a bum shelter wherever Zarzuela lived.

Zarzuela was captured connected surveillance video aft hitting nan child. NYPD

Zarzuela had been freed without bail aft allegedly punching a Queens resident astatine nan aforesaid position connected April 4, documents show.

Initially jailed connected $2,500 bail that day, Zarzuela was later released connected his ain recognizance.

The April 4 victim, nan 54-year-old female who asked for anonymity retired of fearfulness for her safety, was connected her measurement to work, stepping done a crowd successful nan position erstwhile nan brute punched her successful nan face successful beforehand of nan Swatch store. 

“I conscionable fell connected my knees and location was each humor coming retired of my rima and my nose,” she said.  “It was very shocking. It was virtually nan unreserved hr successful nan morning. I thought I was successful a safe spot successful Grand Central.”

Zarzuela ran distant from nan position aft allegedly striking nan child, video shows. NYPD

She said she only returned to activity 2 days agone and is now only moving from home.

“I wish [Kimberly] doesn’t person trauma successful her life successful nan future, because, you know, she’s truthful young,” she said. “I really consciousness bad for her.” 

Kimberly’s mom, who came to nan U.S. from Mexico successful 2006, is besides worried astir nan attack’s affectional effect connected nan girl.

The iconic Grand Central Terminal is simply a hub for recreation to and from NYC. Jonah Elkowitz / New York Post

“Now she doesn’t want to time off nan house,” nan mom said. “She doesn’t smile, she doesn’t laugh. Before she was ever smiling and she was active.”  

Zarzuela remains in Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward connected $100,000 bond, records show.


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