The suspect who allegedly smashed a wooden chair over the heads of two men in a brutal attack inside a Manhattan restaurant earlier this month is believed to have fled the state, authorities said.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said law enforcement teams continued to pursue the suspect, identified by Boyce as "career criminal" Bayna El-Amin. Boyce said they connected El-Amin to the attack at Dallas BBQ restaurant in Chelsea May 5 about a week ago.
The nature of El-Amin's previous convictions wasn't immediately known, and Boyce didn't say at the event Tuesday if authorities had an inkling as to where he may have fled.
Surveillance video of the attack, which followed an apparent verbal dispute between the suspect and two men at the eatery, shows the two men head toward a front window as the attacker approaches them with the wooden chair. The attacker then flings the chair over his head, and a loud crack and screams can be heard as he smashes it on the victims' skulls.
After the hit, one of the men lands in a seat and appears to be dazed by the impact; the other man appears to fall to the floor. The assailant, meanwhile, can be seen walking out of the restaurant.
"He was in a rage. It didn't even seem like he was present," said Isaam Sharef, the man who shot video of the brutal attack told NBC 4 New York. "I don't think anybody can watch the video and not be outraged by how horrible this was."
Bystanders said they were afraid to confront the chair-thrower because of the brutal nature of the attack.
"He had just stomped on someone's head and hit someone on the head with a hard chair," said Sharef. "The last thing anyone wanted to do was get involved."
Police said a 25-year-old victim refused medical attention at the scene. John Snipes, who identified himself on Facebook as one of the victims, wrote in part, "We are in better spirits and believe that our assailants will be found and brought to justice."
Anyone with information on El-Amin's whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.