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Family Anxiously Awaits Test Results After Needle Attack

December 4, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ A crazed homeless man who jabbed a little girl in the leg with a hypodermic needle has turned her family’s holiday season into a cruel wait for the results of AIDS tests.

``We have no peace of mind now, just a lot of worry,″ Sigfredo Lopez said Monday.

His 6-year-old daughter Collete was jabbed in the leg Saturday as she rode a subway train with her mother and older sister, police said.

A 51-year-old homeless man, Angel Coro, was arrested and charged with assault. A judge ordered a psychiatric exam after Coro’s court-appointed attorney said his client was too demented to discuss the case.

The needle was being tested to determine if it was contaminated with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The chance of infection with a quick jab of an HIV-contaminated needle is about 1 in 250, experts have said. Health officials say it usually takes three to six months after transmission before tests can detect the virus in a person’s blood.

Collete’s blood was tested for HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis at Bellevue Hospital Center shortly after the incident, said Pam McDonnell, a hospital spokeswoman.

Authorities refused to discuss the tests any further and it was unclear when or if results would be made public.

Lopez said Monday that the family hadn’t received word on whether his daughter was at risk.

``I feel angry about this guy and what he did to my daughter,″ he said. ``I worry a lot. My life has changed.″

He said Collete was unaware of the danger.

``We try to stay calm in front of her,″ Lopez said.

Authorities didn’t know what prompted the attack.

Family members said they first noticed Coro when he began tussling with another passenger.

Then the man lunged at Collete, sinking the needle into her right knee, witnesses said.

Bystanders subdued Coro, who was carrying two other needles. He was overheard laughing before officers took him away.

Coro has a history of arrests for assault, grand larceny and burglary dating back to the 1960s, authorities said. He also has been committed to several mental institutions, they said.

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