BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) — A business owner allegedly ran over two migrants he thought stole food from his Brooklyn store Sunday morning, according to law enforcement sources.
Hamzeh Alwawi, 42, allegedly hit the men, ages 21 and 29, with his car outside a migrant shelter near Hall Street and Park Avenue at around 3 a.m., according to prosecutors and the NYPD. The suspect and the victim fought over stolen food before the incident, police said.
Video obtained by PIX11 shows the driver tearing through Clinton Hill in his Lexus Sunday morning.
Both of the men have been living at a nearby city shelter on Hall Street.
One of the victims suffered cuts to the back and arm and the other was taken to the hospital with leg and neck injuries, prosecutors said.
Yoandry Lozano Bracho, 28, is one of them. The Venezuelan is seeking asylum in the United States after arriving in New York City in July. He hasn’t been able to find work.
“My arms hurt. They’re full of bruises, my legs, my knees.” Bracho recalled, “I ran…I tried to jump over the fence, and he kept going with the car.”
Alwawi took off after the incident but was arrested a short time later near Myrtle Avenue and Steuben Street, police said.
The Brooklyn father and business owner said he was chasing down someone else. Fed up with repeated food theft from his burger joint, BurgerIM, a few blocks away.
“I feel sad. I’m trying to make a living,” Alwawi said.
Instead, he admitted pursuing the suspected thief a few blocks away but denied trying to hit anyone with his vehicle.
“Of course not. When 30 people surround and beat your car, what do you do?” he asked.
Alwawi alleged the men began chasing his car on scooters and were trying to flee.
“I regret going out of the store,” Alwawi said.
Alwawi was charged with attempted murder, assault, menacing, and harassment, according to the criminal complaint. The suspect, who immigrated from Jordan 20 years ago, pleaded not guilty and was released from jail after posting a $30,000 bond, according to public court records. His license was suspended.
His attorney could not immediately be reached Wednesday.
Mira Wassef is a digital reporter who has covered news and sports in the New York City area for more than a decade. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.