Police looking for suspect who attacked 90-year-old candy shop owner on the Lower East Side
NEW YORK - Police are looking for the man who attacked a beloved candy shop owner on the Lower East Side.
The NYPD says it happened while he was working overnight Monday into Tuesday.
The 90-year-old victim is back at work, and the community is pledging to help find the suspect.
As hit hat says, he's a "New York old soul," and Ray - known legally as Asghar Ghahramam - is not letting the attack that gave him a black eye and cuts to his face from running Ray's Candy Store, as he's done since the '70s.
"I couldn't get sleep. I was nervous," he said. "I washed my face, I came down to work again, and I had delivery."
Ray, who just turned 90 on Jan. 1, says Tuesday at 3 a.m. he stepped out front of his store on Avenue A near East 7th Street for fresh air.
That's when he says a man offered to sell him a pack of soda for $2. Ray says when he politely declined, the suspect attacked.
"He told the guy, his friend, 'Hold this package, I'm going to kill this bastard,'" Ray said. "And they had something with, like, a belt with a stone on the other end. They swing, and hit me, my head, really bad... and I fell down, and I was bleeding."
There are a lot of people in the neighborhood who love Ray, and they have been coming by all day dropping off gifts and pledging to help find the suspects.
"He wouldn't hurt a fly, and he's eager to talk to people. He's very friendly but he - you know - this keeps him alive, this store," said East Village resident Steve Woods.
"It's messed up. Ray's a model citizen in the community. He looks out for everybody," one man said.
"If it happened another hour of another day, when Ray's friends and supporters are generally on Avenue A, it would have been a very different story for the perpetrator," said East Village resident Chris Flash.
Ray says neighbors told him they saw the suspects dining down the block before the incident. Police recovered photos and videos of the suspect on Avenue C.
Ray wants to see an arrest, and the community says until then, they'll be looking out for him, too.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.
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