Man wanted in 3 random assaults in 45-minute span in Queens

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) -- Police are looking for the suspect behind three violent and random incidents in just a 45 minute span in Queens over the weekend.

The first incident happened around 5:15 p.m. Saturday on Steinway Street and 31st Avenue in Astoria.

Authorities say the man approached a 50-year-old woman walking with her 9-year-old daughter and punched her in the face, causing bleeding and swelling.

The suspect then continued toward 30th Avenue, while the victim and her daughter traveled to a medical facility by private means for treatment.

Five minutes later, police say the suspect entered a jewelry store, displayed a 10-inch kitchen knife, and menaced several customers at the entranceway. He then shoved and attempted to punch a 61-year-old victim, who was not injured.

The owner tells Eyewitness News that he buzzed the man into the store because he appeared perfectly normal, but that once he entered he began claiming that he was being chased and that people inside were racist.

"He asked my father to call the cops, which is kind of strange," owner JT Lathati said. "He said people are following him."

Those people had witnessed the first assault and knew he was violent.

"The couple asked me to call the cops, basically," Lathati said. "Said, 'Call the cops, this guy is dangerous. He's been squirting people on the street with a liquid, some kind of liquid like a lighter fluid with a lighter fluid bottle.'"

The confrontation happened in the doorway, where video shows the suspect pulling out a knife and swinging it at the man. At one point, he dropped the knife and then picked it up again before following the victim and spraying him with a still-undetermined liquid.

"He was saying, 'I'm gonna call the FBI, people are racist, they're after me,' sounded crazy," Lathati said. "Really, really, really out of his mind."

The individual continued on foot northbound toward 28th Avenue, where 40 minutes later he allegedly punched another person in the face, causing pain and redness.

That victim was removed by EMS to Mount Sinai Queens Hospital.

The suspect then fled on foot southbound toward 30th Avenue.

Anyone with information in regard to the identity of this individual is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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