BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Four men brutally attacked a Brooklyn convenience store owner on Saturday in what authorities are now investigating as a possible hate crime, police said.
Store owner Jamal Sawaid, 58, was approached by four assailants inside Mermaid Avenue Deli and Grill at 1716 Mermaid Ave. around 2:20 p.m., according to the NYPD.
The four suspects violently beat Sawaid while hurling racist slurs during the attack, police said. One of the attackers was equipped with a metal pipe, as the group battered the victim’s face and head before fleeing in a white pickup truck, police said.
First responders transported the victim to a hospital in what authorities described as stable condition.
“This terrible incident is further proof of how urgently we need our elected officials to take action, and pass laws that will deliver real protection for bodega owners and other small businesses who are continuously subjected to threats and violence every single day,” Dr. Debbie Almonstaser, from the Yemeni American Merchants Association, said in a statement. “We call on local and state elected officials to pass legislation to protect our merchants and help put an end to these horrible attacks that continue to plague our community.”
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating and no arrests have been made.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).