NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents in Chelsea say it is the latest sign their neighborhood and quality of life are under attack.
Police said a homeless man used a hammer to bash a 64-year-old store manager on the head.READ MORE: Family Members: Woman Originally From Long Island Among The Missing In Florida Condo Collapse
The victim told CBS2’s Tony Aiello on Thursday he’s lucky to have survived.
Inside the Gristedes at Ninth Avenue and 24th Street, workers shared their shock at the early morning attack. It happened after manager Ray Acevedo took a picture of a homeless man known for causing trouble.
Aiello spoke with Acevedo on the phone.
“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 said.
The man grabbed a hammer off the ground and smacked Acevedo on the head, police said. A Good Samaritan tried to stop the suspect as he fled the scene.
“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 said.READ MORE: Woman Struck And Killed While Pushing Baby In Stroller In Queens
He said 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. It has been broken into repeatedly, including during the looting sprees in June, Aiello reported.
“They’ve dumped everybody on the streets of New York and it’s wrong,” Gristedes owner and former mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis said.
Catsimatidis told Aiello 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 said. “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. Doctors said they are worried about a concussion.MORE NEWS: See It: Woman Steals Dog From Valley Stream Home
Acevedo has worked for Gristedes for 45 years. He said the current situation in Chelsea reminds him of when he worked in the South Bronx during the difficult 1980s.