What to Know
- A 23-year-old man says a pizzeria manager in Manhattan attacked him with a wooden peel, causing him to nearly lose an eye
- The victim, Quevaghn Caruth, says the manager got angry when Caruth refused to leave the restaurant after being singled out for no reason
- The manager has been arrested
An employee of the Bronx district attorney's office says he was attacked by a Manhattan pizzeria manager with a pizza peel that left him with a bloody wound to the eye.
Quevaughn Caruth, a 23-year-old legal assistant at the Bronx D.A.'s office, said he went out with two friends one night in March, then ended up at La Vera Pizzeria and Restaurant in Murray Hill. Caruth paid for his pizza and waited for his friends to finish their order.
That's when Caruth says another worker told him to get out because they were closing soon. But Caruth was the only one singled out, despite other customers being in the restaurant, according to Caruth's friend and witness Jacob Zirinsky.
"Q obviously didn't want to leave 'cause no one else was being told to leave," said Zirinsky, referring to Caruth.
The manager, wielding a pizza peel, hit Caruth, he said. He was knocked to the ground and went in and out of consciousness as his friends called the ambulance.
"The manager comes over with like a big pizza spatula and hits Q," said Zirinsky.
Records show the restaurant called police twice, for customers who did not want to leave, while Caruth and his friends were there. An employee who didn't want to be identified told News 4 that a group was throwing objects at workers, but both Caruth and Zirinsky said that wasn't true.
That manager, Ali Essa, was arrested and charged with assault a week later, after police viewed surveillance video of the attack. A criminal complaint states that surveillance video showed Essa striking Caruth multiple times with a pizza peel and that "the pizza peel broke during the attack."
"For him to hit me multiple times when it broke, it tells me he had no regard for my life," said Caruth.
The employee who spoke to News 4 said that Essa and the other worker involved were fired. But Caruth wants the second worker to be charged, and is still awaiting an apology from the restaurant.
"I haven't heard anything from the owner," he said.
News 4 was unable to reach the owner of the pizzeria over the phone.
Essa is due in court later this week. Attorney information for him was not immediately clear.