Watch CBS News

Police ID Suspect Wanted In Violent East Harlem Elevator Attacks On Asians

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police have identified the suspect who they say is wanted in a string of violent robberies in
Upper Manhattan.

Investigators believe Jason Commisso, 34, is responsible for eight attacks of people of Asian descent in the neighborhood since Jan. 17, police said.

The latest incident happened Saturday around 10:30 a.m. at a building on East 97th Street. Police said he followed a 57-year-old man into the elevator and punched him before robbing him.

All of the attacks were within blocks of each other and in each case, the suspect follows victims into elevators and then assaults them repeatedly before robbing them, police said.

The buildings where victims have been hit include the Washington Houses, the Johnson Houses and Franklin Plaza.

The youngest victim was 27-years-old, but the rest were in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

Early Monday morning, new surveillance video was released showing the suspect using a credit card at a McDonald's on Third Avenue between 103rd and 104th streets just 40 minutes after it was stolen from one of the victims on Jan. 24, police said.

In that incident, the suspect followed a 47-year-old woman into an elevator and punched her repeatedly before taking off with her purse, police said.

At Commisso's last known address on 105th Street, residents who spoke to CBS 2's John Slattery said they didn't recognize the photo of the suspect.  One resident said some people would be reluctant to give him up.

"A lot of people keep to themselves over here because of the gang problems," that resident said.

Commisso is about 6-foot-1 with brown hair and hazel eyes and weighs around 200 pounds, police said. His last known address was in Queens.

Since the attacks, officers from the city's hate crime task force as well as cops fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese have helped with stepped up security in the neighborhood.

On Saturday, city leaders in the Asian community held a rally to condemn the violence.

Anyone with information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or visit

Please share your thoughts below...

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.