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NYPD: Person Of Interest Identified In Bronx Avocado Assault

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A person of interest has been identified in connection with an attack on a Bronx bodega worker late last month, according to the NYPD.

Surveillance video showed two men throwing avocados and bananas at two workers behind the counter at the Stadium Gourmet Deli on 161st Street in the Concourse section on May 29.

Video shows the workers cower and shield their faces as one suspect grabs from a pile of unripe avocados and start pelting them with the produce.

One worker, 21-year-old Amir Alzabibi, was hit so hard it broke his jaw and fractured his face, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported.

"Throws it at his eyes, and the guy he needed surgery in his eyes," the store's owner, Hany Girgis, said.

"This was a dispute over a food order, and you see what happened," said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. "This fellow is injured pretty badly. He's got a facial fracture and he's got a broken jaw."

Video shows the suspect grab more produce as his accomplice joins the attack. The suspect tries climbing over the counter and throws bananas at the workers while the second man makes a mess of the shelves.

One of the suspects apparently ordered a sausage and cheese sandwich, but was given ham and cheese instead, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported.

The store owner said the deli clerk doesn't speak English and the customer became angry when the cashier tried to translate.

"The customer tell him you lie," Girgis said. "I'm trying to help you, take your order, because it's busy, he says just stay here, it's not your business, something like that, they started cursing each other."

The owner said dealing with aggressive overnight customers comes with the job but this was worse than he's ever seen.

"Yea, this is not normal," Girgis said. "Somebody try to give you service, how you throw avocado? This is no good."

Police said the suspects got away in a dark-colored sedan.

"We have someone -- a person of interest already. He is from that neighborhood. And we are looking to identify the other person now," Boyce said.

The victim had only been working at the deli for two weeks but this was something he could never have prepared for, Bauman reported. He has not returned to work, but he is home from the hospital and recovering.

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