NEW YORK – Ray Acevedo, 64, the manager of the Gristedes on Ninth Avenue and 24th Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, was the victim of a hammer attack by a homeless man in the store, according to police, CBS2 News New York reported on July 23.
Acevedo told CBS2’s Tony Aiello in a phone interview that “he’s lucky to have survived,” CBS2 reported, adding that the incident happened after “Acevedo took a picture of a homeless man known for causing trouble.”
“One of the cashiers has a case against him, sexual harassment, because he goes in there and grabs her. So she has an order of protection for the guy,” Acevedo told CBS2.
According to police, “the man grabbed a hammer off the ground and smacked Acevedo on the head,” and “a Good Samaritan tried to stop the suspect as he fled the scene,” CBS2 reported.
“Luckily, I was able to move a couple of inches to the right. Otherwise, he would have gotten me in the middle of the head and I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you,” Acevedo told CBS2, adding that “the concentration of troubled and struggling homeless people in Chelsea is a huge issue.”
“Workers at businesses up and down Ninth Avenue are on edge and have been for weeks, including workers at a liquor store directly next to the Gristedes,” CBS2 reported, adding that “it has been broken into repeatedly, including during the looting sprees in June.”
“They’ve dumped everybody on the streets of New York and it’s wrong,” Gristedes owner and former mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis told CBS2, adding that “initiatives such as the drive to empty Rikers Island have had negative consequences on the streets and are convincing people to leave.”
“New York City has become Dodge City, and New York City has become a ghost town,” Catsimatidis told CBS2, “I’m concerned for my employees. I’m concerned for our city.”
Catsimatidis is “offering a $5,000 reward for help locating the suspect who attacked Acevedo, who is home recovering,” CBS2 reported, noting that “doctors said they are worried about a concussion.”
Acevedo, an employee at Gristedes for 45 years told CBS2 that “the current situation in Chelsea reminds him of when he worked in the South Bronx during the difficult 1980s.”