Police in New York City are on the hunt for a suspect who sucker-punched a stranger in a CVS while going on a homophobic rant.
The incident comes as the city continues to struggle during a crime wave, with random attacks happening on a regular basis.
The NYPD released surveillance video of the recent incident in a CVS, which took place at 5 Pennsylvania Avenue in Manhattan around 7pm on Saturday.
The video shows a man in a white shirt suddenly unload a punch to the head of a man, 24, as he walks into the store while another person walks in alongside him.
Police are on the hunt for a suspect who sucker-punched another man in a CVS lobby
The suspect was making comments about the man’s perceived sexual orientation as he punched him in the back of the head.
According to PIX11, the police did share that the unidentified victim identifies as being gay.
The New York Daily News reports the suspect yelled ‘f*****g gays’ at the man as the attack took place.
The other person turns around to face the suspect and appears to be stunned.
Surveillance video shows the unidentified victim walking into the CVS on Saturday night
Suddenly, the suspect unleashes a punch to the back of the victim’s head
The suspect also made homophobic comments about the victim’s perceived sexual orientation
The victim was not seriously injured in the assault and turned down medical attention at the scene.
The suspect then fled on foot on 34th Street heading towards 9th Avenue, police told NBC New York.
Further along, the video shows the suspect casually walking down the sidewalk, at one point turning around and appearing to yell in the direction of passersby.
He then gestures threatening at another person and turns around at least twice to look at something behind him.
The suspect, who has not been identified, is wanted for assault. The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is involved in the investigation.
The potential hate crime comes as New York City tries to cope with its current crime wave, which includes a large rise in shootings from a year ago.
On Monday afternoon, a detective in Queens was hit in the head by a man with a plastic baton as the officer was investigating the scene. A suspect was arrested in that case.
Additionally, a 20-year-old man was shot and killed in broad daylight near Park Avenue on Monday.
The suspect then fled the scene and began walking down the street towards 9th Avenue
While fleeing in the scene, the suspect also appeared ready to fight people on the sidewalk
It’s believed that the shooting may be the result of a drug deal gone bad.
The victim and three others were sitting in a car when a man sitting next to the victim pulled out a gun, according to police.
The victim was shot once in the heart as the suspect fled uptown, while the panicked SUV driver in the car drove directly into a parked car.
‘There is a considerable amount of marijuana in the car,’ a police source told the Daily News.
Prior to that, Jason Rivera, 35, was shot and killed in the Bronx on Friday after helping a man who was sitting on a bench and asking if he was okay.
According to the New York Daily News, Rivera’s wife was pregnant with twins when he was killed.
He and his wife were also parents to a seven-year-old girl, a three-year-old girl, and two-year-old boy.
‘We met on the block where he was killed,’ his wife, Shantay White, said to the Daily News. ‘That’s the crazy part.’
The Sergeant’s Benevolent Association (SBA) – which represents more than 11,000 current and past NYPD officers – tweeted on Monday morning in response to the weekend’s shootings: ‘Welcome to the city of violence.’
They also attacked Mayor Bill de Blasio for investing $30 million on boosting tourism, rather than focusing on tackling crime.
A record 66.6 million tourists visited the New York City in 2019, according to NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism organization.
That figure dropped to 22.3 million in 2020, but NYC & Company projects it will increase to 36.4 million tourists in 2021 due to the $30 million investment.
There were 50 shootings in the city last week through Monday, a 257 percent spike from a year ago when many New Yorkers were isolated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There has been a staggering rise in shootings from last year, including murders
Crime was up in most categories in March from a year ago, with April stats due out soon
Over the weekend, there were 28 shootings, which wounded 31 people and killed six more.
There have been a number of seemingly random attacks that have gripped New York City in recent weeks.
This month alone, a five-year-old was shot in Brooklyn, a tourist shot in crossfire in Manhattan, a 66-year-old Asian man sucker-punched in the Bronx, and a 51-year-old woman was shot dead by another woman in broad daylight on a Brooklyn street in the Park Slope district.
Earlier this month, a concerned mother from Brooklyn confronted de Blasio during a radio phone-in about shootings in New York, asking him, ‘What’s being done?’
The mayor placed blame on COVID-19 for the crime spike, saying: ‘I think it comes back to this horrible combination of things we saw, you know, people didn’t have jobs, almost a million people lost their jobs, schools were closed, houses of worship were closed. Things really were falling apart.’
The mayor then touted reopening measures, which he claimed will cut crime as people return to work, and also cited ‘community based solutions to gun violence.’
He specifically mentioned two anti-gun crime initiatives, Cure Violence Movement and Crisis Management System.
In June, de Blasio also oversaw a $1 billion cut to New York Police Department’s $6 billion budget, which came at the height of last summer’s ‘defund the police’ protests.
The number of shootings so far in 2021 have increased drastically from a year ago.
As of Sunday, there have been 376 shootings in the city this year, with 416 victims from those shootings.
Those numbers are a rise of 76.5 percent and 71.9 percent, respectively, from 2020, the NYPD told Fox News.
There have also been nine additional murders from a year ago.
In March, index crime rose by 2.4 percent from a year ago, including a 36.0 percent increase in murders and 30.4 percent increase in rapes.
The only index crimes that declined from last March to this March were robberies and burglaries.
The crime statistics for the month of April will likely be released during the first week of May.