JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens (WABC) -- A doorman from an Manhattan apartment building is recovering from a brutal attack that police are investigating as a possible hate crime.
The 51-year-old doorman, Mauricio Bermúdez, was in his Jackson Heights, Queens neighborhood over the weekend and says a man he'd never seen before, beat him with a metal pipe after making an anti-Hispanic statement.
Eyewitness News reporter Sonia Rincon talked to the victim exclusively.
Bermúdez says he's still in a lot of pain from the assault by a stranger Sunday night that left him with gashes in his head that needed staples, but says he's thankful to be alive.
"He broke my arm, my finger, and I have a lot of black and blue all over my whole body," he said.
The NYPD is investigating it as a bias attack. Bermúdez says he was walking home on Roosevelt Avenue past a smoke shop on the corner of 80th Street.
"I was walking in front of the store, and there was this guy in front of the store, like talking racist, saying 'I don't like Spanish people, what are you doing here?'" Bermúdez said. "So I went back to him and said, 'You have a problem with Spanish people? If you don't like Spanish people, what are you doing in this neighborhood?'"
He says the man then went into the store, so Bermúdez continued on his way, but the man came back out and then followed Bermudez with a pipe.
Somewhere in the middle of the street, the man hit him with the pipe.
"I tried to defend myself, but I don't carry a weapon. And I never will," he said.
The man grabbed Bermúdez's wallet and took off, leaving him bruised and bloody. He called a nearby friend who took him to the hospital, then filed a police report.
He says as long as the attacker is out there, people in his neighborhood are not safe.
"I hope the police, they do something. Because there's a lot of innocent people out there," he said.
Bermúdez works as a doorman in an East Midtown apartment building. He says the people who live and work there are a second family to him and have been sending well wishes, support and are echoing his hope that police catch the person who did this.
"It could be anybody else that could get hurt and thank God I'm alive," Bermúdez said.
Police are still looking for any surveillance video that may have captured the attack or the suspect.
Bermúdez tells Eyewitness News reporter Sonia Rincon that he remembers seeing people recording the attack with their phones.
Police would like to hear from anyone with any information or video.
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