MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A woman was was blindsided on Ocean Drive when she was caught on surveillance video being sucker punched by a man who she described as a violent repeat offender is speaking out about the alarming attack.
The security footage shows the moment that the subject walked toward Moraima Lima and struck her from behind along the 900 block of Ocean Drive on Friday.
The victim, who continues to recover physically and emotionally, shared her account of the incident with 7News on Wednesday.
“He came, and he gave me, ‘pah-kah-tah!'” she said.
Lima, a mother and grandmother, said she has had her cigar vending business on Ocean Drive for 25 years.
The victim, 58, said her assailant is a repeat problem for her and other service industry workers.
Prior to the punch, Lima said, the man followed and badgered her for free cigarettes.
“He’s harassing me,” she said.
When she wouldn’t give him any, Lima, said, the subject became more aggressive.
The surveillance video shows the victim using a chair to get keep him away.
“I tried to defend [myself],” she said.
Restaurant staff at nearby Locust Bar and Restaurant had to intervene.
“Manager from here, they helped me,” she said.
The man left, but Lima said he was back a couple of hours later. When she wasn’t looking, that’s when he made his move and socked her in the face.
“When he punched me, I believe that he tried to kill me,” she said.
Lima suffered broken ribs, and she also injured her ear, face, neck and arms.
She was taken to the hospital.
As for her attacker, he ran off, onto Ninth Street and up Collins Avenue.
A server who works nearby said he same man attacked her in January.
“The cop came in and took him away,” she said.
When asked whether she fell to the ground, the server replied, “Yes I did. I felt kind of scared.”
7News has learned Lima was also assaulted that night months ago.
She was back on the job Wednesday, but with her husband by her side.
Miami Beach Police declined to discuss the identity of the man but said they’re aware of this latest case, adding that that public safety is their top priority.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the police department wrote they are in the “preliminary stages of the investigation and have confirmed that this incident was not a random act of violence.”
“I feel now scared. I’m not feeling safe,” said Lima.
According to 7News sources, police know exactly who the attacker is, and though no arrest has been made as of Wednesday night, that may change soon.
If you have any information on this incident od the subject’s whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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