By Cory James

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD has launched an investigation into a vicious, unprovoked attack against a young woman in Manhattan.

The victim was working inside a Washington Heights boutique when a man walked in and her day suddenly turned into a nightmare.

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Now, police are looking for the suspect caught on camera.

Loved ones of the victim told CBS2’s Cory James the young woman did not know the man who walked inside Steph’s Designs on Audubon Avenue this past Friday and started asking her questions, but police say when she did not respond that’s when things turned violent.

Video shows the moment a man walks up to the boutique, peeks through the front door window, and walks in. But seconds after entering the store, his casual stroll up to the counter — where a 22-year-old woman is sitting — takes a turn for the worst.

The suspect is seen quickly whipping his hands out of his pockets and slashing the employee’s nose with an unknown object.

That woman then frantically gets out of her chair — with blood gushing into her hand — and races to the door following the suspect who falls on the ground during his attempt to take off.

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A neighbor, who didn’t want to give his name to CBS2, saw the video of the attack and said he feels for the victim.

“Her face is not going to be the same anymore,” he said.

James spoke with the woman’s stepmother, who said her daughter, Desteny Cabrera, is not ready to speak, adding her mental health is their top priority.

Cabrera, however, did speak out on Instagram, saying she nearly lost her life and is beyond grateful and blessed to be alive.

As she recovers with stitches on her nose after emergency surgery, the search continues for the dangerous attacker.

Cabrera also wrote that she will need multiple reconstruction surgeries.

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A GoFundMe page has been set up to help her with medical costs.

Cory James