Irish novelist Colum McCann was “trying to be a Good Samaritan” when he was struck down by his assailant outside a New Haven, Connecticut, hotel last Saturday, police say.
McCann, a National Book Award winner in 2009 and Dublin native, was left bleeding, from a head wound, lying on the ground after the assault. The incident occurred at about 10:15pm after the author tried to intervene in a domestic dispute between a couple outside the Study Hotel.
He saw a woman pushed to the ground and tried to help, police say.
As of Thursday, police had not made any arrests in the attack.
“We have an active investigation being conducted,” Assistant Police Chief Archie Generoso told The New Haven Independent.
“Right now we do not believe it was a random street attack.”
“What we believe happened is that the victim tried to intercede in what appeared to be a domestic dispute between a man and a woman. He saw a woman pushed to the ground. He tried to assist the woman. He asked the woman if she wanted him to call the police. He urged her to do so. She said she didn’t want to call the police. The guy said, ‘It’s your decision.’ He turned around, began to walk away, and he was assaulted.”
“We’re not sure yet” who assaulted him, Generoso said.
“He was completely innocent. He was trying to be a Good Samaritan.”
The argument between the man and the woman had begun inside the hotel, according to Generoso.
McCann was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital with a serious but not life threatening head injury. His wife Allison Hawke stated he was now at home in New York and was receiving extensive dental treatment.
Ironically, he had come to New Haven to discuss healing to a Sunday event at Southern Connecticut State University which was hosted by Narrative 4, an organization McCann co-founded to “promote empathy through the exchange of stories.”
McCann “does not wish to speak publicly at present” about what happened in New Haven, according to his literary agent Sarah Chalfant.
McCann is one of Ireland’s best-known authors and won the National Book Award in 2009 for “Let the Great World Spin,” an allegory about 9/11. It is currently being turned into a Hollywood movie directed by JJ Abrams.
His latest book, "TransAtlantic," was partly about the Irish peace process and spent several weeks in the New York Times best seller list.
McCann was born in Ireland and his father was features editor of the Irish Press newspaper, which Colum also wrote for. He teaches at Hunter College. He and his wife have three children.