Authorities have arrested a 27-year-old man in connection with a terrifying hammer attack on a grocery store manager in Chelsea late last month.
Oscar Apronti, of Manhattan, was initially cuffed Sunday on charges of assault and criminal possession over an early April attack on Eighth Avenue in which he allegedly walloped a deli clerk opening up shop with some sort of blunt object.
Authorities say they then linked him to the July 23 attack on grocery store manager Ramon Acevedo, who was also opening up the store -- in his case, the Gristedes supermarket on Ninth Avenue -- when he was ambushed.
Acevedo told News 4 he had noticed a man who allegedly previously shoplifted and sexually harassed a cashier outside as he opened the supermarket. It's unclear if words were exchanged but surveillance video shows the man, allegedly Apronti, pick up a hammer from the street and swing at the 65-year-old's head.
Acevedo says he tried to dodge the attack but the suspect smashed him in the forehead, leaving a "humungous gash." Still conscious even after the blow, Acevedo tried to chase after his attacker with a coworker but the man got away.
"One inch to the right maybe I wouldn’t be here talking about it," Acevedo said.
The grandfather of five, who celebrated a birthday shortly after the attack, says he has worked for the supermarket for 46 years, and 12 stitches to his head won't stop him from returning to work. He said he wouldn't be afraid, either.
"I shouldn’t have to worry about it. I’ll be paying more attention myself, now I know what this guy is capable so I’ll take a different stance," Acevedo said.
Apronti faces charges of assault, stalking and criminal possession of a weapon in the most recent case. It wasn't immediately clear if police were investigating him for other potential unprovoked attacks against store workers in the neighborhood.
The victim in the first attack was treated for a head laceration at a hospital but was expected to be OK. No information on a possible attorney for Apronti was available.