A Queens man slashed a neighbor's face, fatally stabbed a store owner and set fire to a homeless person Sunday before being wounded and captured by police, authorities said.
James Dillon, 23, was shot by officers several times and was said to be in critical condition at Elmhurst Hospital Center.
Dillon's violent seven-hour crime spree began at 11:20 a.m. when he slashed the neck and face of a woman who lived next door to his 36th Street home, where he lived with his parents, police said.
Neighbor Bertha Carpio was treated for the cuts and later told NBC 4 New York that Dillon became angry with her because he felt she was staring at him.
"He grabbed my jacket. I saw him taking the knife out. Immediately he started stabbing my neck. I fought back. I didn't even know I was being cut," Carpio said.
When police responded to the slashing, Dillon had already left the scene, authorities said.
Less than four hours later, Dillon got into an argument with employees at DGc Astoria Liquor, police said. During the confrontation, he stabbed George Patouhas, the 55-year-old store owner, and set him on fire with an accelerant, investigators said.
Patouhas later died.
"I'm shocked. I don't know what to say. I don't know. It's crazy," Sam, a friend of the victim, said.
Moments after stabbing Patouhas, Dillon sprayed a 61-year-old man with the accelerant and ignited it, police said. The man was taken to a local hospital. Information about the extent of his injuries wasn't available.
The NYPD launched a massive manhunt. At 5:11 p.m., police received a call from a woman who said a man tried to break into her apartment on 42nd Street and was fleeing down the fire escape. Officers converged on the location, spotted Dillon and chased him on foot.
The officers eventually cornered Dillon in the backyard of his parent's house and ordered him to drop the knife he held and a beer bottle containing some of the accelerant.
Dillon refused and sprayed both officers with the fluid. They fired their weapons about seven times, striking Dillon multiple times, authorities said.
Bystanders could be seen running for cover as the gunfire erupted. Police officers bolted down the streets of Astoria with their guns drawn.
The two officers who were sprayed suffered burns to their hands and face.
The family told investigators that Dillon has been treated for psychological issues and hasn't been taking his medication, authorities said.
NYPD Deputy Chief John Essig echoed the family's belief that Dillon was not mentally stable.
"We believe it was a psychological problem with the individual. He's been treated in the past and the family has indicated that he has not been taking medication recently," Essig said.