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Girl, 14, rescued from lethal chokehold in attack by psychiatric patient

A psychiatric patient attacked and attempted to choke to death a 14-year-old girl Saturday morning as she stood on the porch of her home on Abbottsford Place near Forest Avenue, Buffalo police said.

A neighbor and a mail carrier are credited with pulling the attacker, a Buffalo Psychiatric Center outpatient, from the girl who had been choked unconscious, police said.

The girl was on her porch about 10 a.m., waiting to be picked up for a school-related activity when the attacker, identified as Joseph Gadawski, 29, rushed onto the porch and attacked her, police said.

“She was on her porch and all off a sudden he darted over to her and before she could move he started choking her,” said Northwest District Chief Anthony Barba. “A neighbor and a mailman reacted and saved her life.”

Gadawski lives near the psychiatric center, police said.

Northwest Police officers Sean Pottter and Dorian McKnight arrested Gadawski and took him to the Erie County Medical Center psychiatric facility, authorities said.

Homicide detectives and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office are reviewing the case and plan to charge Gadawski when he is released form the hospital, authorities added.

The girl was examined and treated in Women and Children’s Hospital but was not admitted, said police, who added that after the attack, she regained consciousness and was able to get up and walk around.

Other neighbors also responded to the attack, called 911 and detained Gadawski until officers arrived.

Gadawski did not offer any explanation for his actions, said police, who added he was just walking by when he attacked the girl.