NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) -- A driver was mortally beaten by a roving group of 30 ATV and dirt bike riders who surrounded his car in East Harlem—after they struck his side mirror—and then a bystander who had nothing to do with the attack drove off in the victim’s car, police said Wednesday as they investigated the depraved killing.
The 45-year-old victim, identified as Arthur Cooke, of Harlem, died at NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem last Friday, two weeks after the Nov. 4 attack just four blocks from his home on St. Nicholas Avenue.
Cooke was driving his Mercedes-Benz C300 eastbound on E. 125th Street around 10 p.m. when he was surrounded by 30 ATV and dirt bike riders, police said.
One of the riders struck the passenger-side mirror of the Mercedes, and Cooke pulled over near Fifth Avenue to check on the damage.
As he was inspecting the mirror, multiple members of the group surrounded and then viciously beat him, according to police, who said someone in the group also brandished a firearm, although it’s not believed they fired it.
The group took off on their ATVs and dirt bikes, leaving Cooke with blunt force trauma to his neck and spine.
A man who police believe was not affiliated with the gang then got into the victim’s Mercedes and drove off in it.
No arrests have been reported in connection with the killing or auto theft, police said.
The NYPD hasn't yet released images or descriptions of the suspects they're searching for.
Cooke was a court special advocate for Exodus Transitional Community, an organization that assists people who have been incarcerated, according to LinkedIn.
A co-worker, Noel Diaz, said in a GoFundMe post seeking aid for Cooke's family that Cooke was “on a date with his significant other” when he was attacked.
“He is a man that is full of laughs and full of hope,” Diaz said in the post, which was written before Cooke died.
ATVs and motorized dirt bikes are illegal in New York City, but the city has struggled to enforce the ban. Mayor Eric Adams had a bulldozer destroy dozens of the vehicles at a news conference earlier this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.