Anthony G. Attrino
NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.
Margot Kagan, a recent liver transplant recipient assaulted after asking someone to wear a face mask, has a message for her attacker.
“I hope they catch her. I’d like to see her spend a couple nights in jail,” Kagan, 54, told NJ Advance Media from her hospital bed on Saturday.
Kagan, a single mother of two teenagers from Teaneck, has been at Hackensack University Medical Center since Wednesday, when she was shoved to the ground while faxing paperwork from Staples in Hackensack.
“I said, ‘you’re endangering everyone by not wearing your mask’ and I put my head down and went back to faxing at the machine,” she said.
Security video from a store camera shows the suspect walk around a plastic divider and confront Kagan.
“Next thing I know, she’s two feet away from me, screaming at me,” Kagan said. “I really didn’t understand what she was saying. I lifted my cane to keep her away from me.”
Video shows the suspect grabbing the frail woman and throwing her to the floor. “My knee broke while I was falling. I later learned it was my tibia,” Kagan said.
Moments after the attack, the video shows the woman walking out of the store, leaving Kagan on the floor and customers and employees standing nearby, stunned.
Kagan, who wore a mask and face shield into the store, said she spoke up to the woman because she is had a liver transplant in March – after being on a waiting list for two years – and that she fears contracting COVID-19.
“She’s on quite a few immunosuppressant drugs,” said her brother, Bruce Kagan, 60, of New York. “She’s a cancer survivor, too, so she doesn’t have the strongest constitution.”
“This had me crying, just watching it and thinking about it,” Bruce Kagan said. “The whole family was upset and mortified.”
Bruce Kagan said police told him there were no cameras outside the store and that nobody thought to take a photo of the woman’s license plate as she drove out of the parking lot.
“Hopefully they find this person because she’s dangerous,” Bruce Kagan said. “She could hurt somebody else and that’s got to be dealt with.”
Police said the suspect was Black, about 160 pounds, and 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 201-646-7777 or CrimeStoppers at 844-466-6789.
A GoFundMe page set up by one of Kagan’s neighbors to pay her medical bills had raised over $1,100 by early Saturday.
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