NEW YORK – The night manager of the Applejack Diner at 1725 Broadway in Midtown Manhattan was assaulted early on Sunday morning by a group of five, three men and two women, when the 71-year-old Greek immigrant, Nick Vattes, tried to break up a fight, according to reports by local New York media including CBS2 and ABC7. Vattes is recovering from the assault which left him with a broken nose, swollen eyes, and 42 stitches.
“It was a brouhaha,” said the diner’s general manager Michael Kalliagas, ABC7 reported. “People were yelling and screaming and throwing things. Nick got in the middle to try and break it up, try and defuse the situation and he got caught in the crossfire of the violence.”
According to ABC7, “the incident began when five customers seated at the diner’s front booth got into a dispute with a disabled man who came in from outside. The confrontation turned physical and escalated.”
“The only thing I was trying to do was to tell them to stop,” Vattes said, adding that when he tried to break up the fight he was “hit in the face, apparently with a bottle,” ABC7 reported.
Vattes told CBS2 over the phone, “I was feeling sorry for the handicapped man because they hit him, all four of them, and I tried to protect him. All of a sudden I just… somebody hit me in the back, in the front, the nose, and everywhere.”
The suspects fled on foot heading north on Broadway, ABC7 reported.
Coworkers and customers, shocked by the incident, told CBS2 that “the staff here are like family.”
“Everybody’s very sad that this would happen, it’s very surreal, the diner’s been here for 38 years, nothing of this sort has ever happened before,” Kalliagas told CBS2.
The victim said he has worked overnights at the diner for the last few years to support his two children going to college, CBS2 reported, adding that “[I] came to the United States just to support my family.”
The suspects, described as three black males and two black females, are between the ages of 20 and 30, CBS2 reported.
At press time, no arrests have been made, but surveillance video of the suspects has been release and anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
“We want these people to be brought to justice and find out why would they do something like this,” Kalliagas said, ABC7 reported.