NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 56-year-old man remained in critical condition Monday after police said he was attacked early Saturday morning in Queens.
Police identified the victim as Roberto Martines, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.
Residents in Woodside said Martines, who lives nearby, was leaving a restaurant on the corner of 69th Street and Roosevelt Avenue when he was attacked.
Just after midnight, a man walked up to him and punched him in the face, police said.
“Immediately he punched him at his face, and he fell down and crushed his head here,” said Benjamin Ytac, a friend of the victim.
The victim was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital in critical condition.
People in the neighborhood claim someone asked Martines, “Are you Filipino?” before attacking him, but police told Brennan they know nothing of that, and are not investigating the incident as a hate crime.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his early to mid-20s with facial hair. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and a dark baseball cap. Area residents told Stern the attacker may have just stepped out of a bar, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported.
“I feel so bad, because the guy is a quiet person,” a friend of Martines’ told Stern. “He’s not a troublemaker.”
“He’s a good guy. He’s not gonna start a fight,” friend Abet Manuel added.
“Imagine going to dinner and getting hit for no reason,” neighbor Hyrije Berisha said.
Friends who visited Martines in the hospital said he was unable to speak, Brennan reported.
“We love Robert so much,” Shirley Acosta said. “I posted some prayers for him today and I hope he will get through.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips to the Crime Stoppers website or texting 274637(CRIMES) then entering TIP577.
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