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Suspect Who Hit Men Over Head With Chair At Chelsea Dallas BBQ Still At Large

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The search continues for a man caught on video hitting two men over the head with a chair in a possible hate crime in Manhattan.

The incident occurred just after 11 p.m. Tuesday night at Dallas BBQ in Chelsea.

The man reportedly shouted anti-gay slurs before beating Jonathan Snipes and hitting him with a chair.

Witness Isaam Sharef caught the attack on video and posted it to YouTube and Instagram. The video shows Snipes being flung to the floor and kicked as others screamed, "Stop!"

Warning: Some May Find Video Disturbing

After Snipes' partner pulls him away, the attacker raises the wooden chair and slams it down on both men's skulls. Snipes slumps in a chair, while the other collapses to the floor.

On Twitter, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was "disturbed" by the incident.

"Our thoughts are with the victims," de Blasio wrote. "Hate has no place in this city."

CBS2's Dave Carlin talked to the victim, who police believe may have been targeted because he is gay. They are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Witnesses say the incident started over a knocked over drink.

Following the attack, a photo published by DNAInfo showed Snipes with cuts on his head and near his ear. Snipes told DNAInfo earlier that he was attacked alongside his boyfriend Ethan York-Adams, 25,

Jonathan Snipes
Jonathan Snipes, 32, said a man attacked him inside a Dallas BBQ on West 23rd Street after calling him an anti-gay epithet. (Credit: Ben Fractenberg/DNAInfo; used by permission)

Snipes had a ball-cap over the wounds when he spoke to Carlin in a television exclusive about his shock and pain.

"At this moment, we're just going to get home. We're going to rest. We haven't been able to sleep yet because of the head injury that was sustained," Snipes said.

Snipes spent hours talking to Detectives with NYPD Hate Crimes Unit, telling them a dinner date was underway when the drink spilled, and the suspect sitting at another table allegedly made an anti-gay slur.

He said the two fought. Snipes said his friend intervened, and the suspect is seen violently pushing Snipes to the ground and stomping on him.

"He was on the floor being stomped -- like he was stomping to kill," Sharef said. "Like, it was violently dangerous. It was out of control to even see it."

Sharef told WCBS 880 that Snipes was the one who initially made things physical. But as the fight escalated, other patrons were heard yelling for the fight to stop -- with some even trying to break it up.

Surveillance video of the suspect:

"In all my years, I had never seen anything like that. I had never seen somebody crack -- I mean like, you could hear the wood break; like, that heavy, thick wood upside that man's head," Sharef told Carlin.

When asked if he thought the attack was a hate crime, Snipes said, "I mean, any violent act against any New Yorker I would not condone, but especially anything that's protected – whether it's your race, your religion or your creed."

The attacker fled the scene and remains at large.

City Councilman Corey Johnson (D-3rd) called the incident "anti-LGBT hate violence."

"The fact that this attack took place in the neighborhood of Chelsea, a place known around the world for its acceptance of all people, is particularly outrageous," Johnson said. "There must be zero tolerance of hate crimes, the most insidious of crimes as they target entire communities of people."

Police said the suspect, seen on video with a beard and wearing a suit, is about 35 years old and could be as tall as 6 foot 4. Investigators hope someone who sees the video will turn him in.

Anyone with any information about the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

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