NYC deli customer fighting for life after chokehold battle with workers

Getty Images

A deli customer had the lights knocked out in an early morning showdown with two workers, who prosecutors say came out from behind the counter and beat the man until he couldn't breathe.

The two men were charged Monday with assault and strangulation after coming out from behind the Rockaway Park deli counter and attacking the customer, prosecutors allege.

The customer reportedly complained about his food -- kicking off the events that would eventually land him in the hospital fighting for his life.

"This is yet another instance where a seemingly minor dispute escalated into serious physical violence," District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement.

Saber Abuhamra, 34, and Jorge Hernandez, 23, were arraigned on charges Monday related to the June 11 crime. They each face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

According to prosecutors, the commotion at the Queens deli unfolded Sunday around 5 a.m. Hernandez, an employee at Pickles and Pies Food Market and Deli on Beach 116th Street, threw the first punch at the 31-year-old victim's head.

Hernandez then allegedly put the man in a headlock and held him on the floor while Abuhamra delivered a series of punches and kicks to his head and stomach. The duo continued assaulting the man until the 31-year-old lost consciousness, prosecutors said.

The man reportedly started seizing after he was knocked out cold, and was in critical condition when he arrived at the hospital. Officials said he was placed on life support.

The New York Daily News reports the altercation stemmed from an argument over french fries not being crispy enough.

The employees, the outlet reported, claim self-defense and allege the customer claimed to have a firearm.

Contact Us