BROOKLINE (CBS) – A man suspected of grabbing a boy by the throat on a playground while he was playing with a hamster has been arrested.

On Tuesday, Brookline Police released photos of a man related to an “ongoing investigation” but did not release further details. Thursday police announced that Christian Amaral of Newton was arrested and charged with aggravated assault of a child in connection with the incident.

Christian Amaral is suspected in a Brookline assault. (Image credit: Brookline police)

Amaral left the courthouse in chains; he covered his head with a shirt, inside the court the judge allowed him to stay out of view of the camera. He’s charged with assaulting a boy at the Pierce School playground on Memorial Day

“He is very frightened,” said Liling Lin, the mother of the victim’s friend. Lin’s son was standing at the water fountain when his friend was allegedly attacked by Amaral.

“They were playing with a family pet and they went to get the pet some water,” said Brookline Police Deputy Superintendent Michael Gropman. “And as they were getting the pet some water, an individual who is unknown to them, walked up to them, stopped, grabbed one by the throat and picked him up and threw him down and told him not to mistreat animals. Obviously the kids both under the age of 13 were traumatized.”

Several people took video of the suspect as he left the park and Brookline Police posted the pictures on social media. At least five tipsters told police it was Amaral.

“We don’t really understand why he was in the area right now, but we arrested him early this morning at his house, he had changed his appearance, he shaved his beard,” Gropman said.

Amaral’s attorney said his client did not try to strangle the boy, saying there are at least two witnesses who claim the suspect never touched the kids at all.

The child suffered a throat injury but will recover. Amaral was arraigned Thursday in Brookline District Court. He pleaded not guilty and a judge ordered him held pending a dangerousness hearing on June 5.

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