‘Boardwalk Empire’ actor Michael Stuhlbarg struck with rock by ex-con in Central Park

NEW YORK — Michael Stuhlbarg, the actor who portrayed gangster Arnold Rothstein in “Boardwalk Empire,” got caught up in a real-life crime drama, chasing a homeless ex-con who struck him in the head with a rock in Central Park, police said Monday.

Stuhlbarg, 55, was walking alone in the park near East 90th Street and East Drive when the attacker hurled a rock at him about 7:45 p.m. Sunday, cops said. The impact left the actor with a minor cut to his head.

A stunned Stuhlbarg chased the assailant out of the park, where cops stationed outside the Russian Consulate on East 91st Street near Fifth Avenue grabbed the suspect.

Police charged Xavier Israel with assault. His arraignment was pending in Manhattan Criminal Court Monday.

Israel, 27, has a history of mental illness, according to court records. In January 2022, he was accused of carrying out three assaults during a 10-day span in or near Central Park.

On Jan. 2, he allegedly punched two people on Transverse Road near East Drive inside the park. Six days later, he allegedly punched a woman near East 83rd Street and shoved her to the ground, drawing blood. On Jan. 12, on East 41st Street near Madison Ave., Israel grabbed a man by the torso, threw him to the ground, punched him repeatedly and took his wallet, prosecutors say

The following May, prosecutors said a psychiatric evaluation determined Israel was unfit to stand trial for the first two incidents, with judges dismissing those cases and transferring him to the custody of the Office of Mental Health.

In October 2022, he pleaded guilty to attempted robbery for the third incident and received a two-year sentence and two years post-release supervision. Records show that he was conditionally released by parole on Sept. 23.

An attorney for Israel could not immediately be reached for comment.


(New York Daily News reporter Molly Crane-Newman contributed to this story.)