Worker choked, stabbed in Queens robbery: 'I'm glad I survived'

REGO PARK, Queens (WABC) -- Police are looking for the man caught on camera brutally attacking and robbing a store worker in Queens.

Authorities say it appeared to be a planned attack, with the men striking as the victim -- 21-year-old Raed Ali -- was opening the Candy Store deli on 63rd Road in Rego Park.

It happened on Saturday, June 15, at 7:22 a.m. in an otherwise quiet neighborhood.

Ali, known as Ray Ray to his family and at the store, spoke with Eyewitness News.

"He put me in a chokehold, and it was 10 seconds or less and then I was knocked out," he said.

Police say Ali was choked, dragged to the ground, and stabbed, while a second man who has since been arrested raided the cash register for $2,200.

He says he let his guard down that morning, and that this ordeal has changed his life -- because he made it out alive. Still, he says he will no doubt be looking over his shoulder all the time and will keep his guard up.

"I kept thinking this was a dream," he said. "I'm glad I survived it, to tell my story, to see the guys that did this get locked up."


The victim's brother, Riad Ali, owns the store.

"It was a stupid robbery that went wrong, and money was the motive," he said. "He pulled out a knife after they dragged him from there, down there, and afterward I guess they panicked. They try to stab him and try to kill him, make sure that he was dead, he was finished. He wasn't conscious when he was getting stabbed."

The surveillance video released by the NYPD shows the chokehold in action.

Raed Ali was left unconscious, but he came to and called for help.

"He was able to knock on the door," Riad Ali said. "I came downstairs, I rushed downstairs, we called the ambulance."

Neighbors say violent crime like that is unusual, and they hope this increased attention leads to an arrest.

"You don't even need money sometimes when you come in here," customer Eli Santiago said. "If you don't have the money, you give it to them later. They're very nice with everybody. The whole community knows them. I'm very surprised at what happened over here."

Raed spent five days in intensive care and is now out of the hospital.

Police continue to search for the man performing the chokehold in the video.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident 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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