The owner of a tailor shop in Manhattan who was stabbed several times by a robber says he nearly hit his attacker with a hot iron in a fight for his life.
In an interview with NBC 4 New York, Apel Tamagoglu, the 78-year-old owner of Apel's Alteration on East 27th Street, recounts the horrifying attack that sent him to the hospital with serious injuries.
Tamagoglu was allegedly stabbed by John Franklyn just after 12:30 p.m. Monday after the clashing with the 53-year-old inside his shop, police said. That's when Franklyn allegedly started hitting him and demanding money.
"He said give me the money, give me the money, and I fight back," he said.
The tailor says he had a hot iron in his hand and contemplated hitting Franklyn with it, but opted not to because he didn't want to hurt him. Franklyn then stabbed him repeatedly in the chest.
Though he initially resisted, he eventually relented and gave him $80 in cash from his own pocket. Tamagoglu says he was stabbed a few more times before he chased after his attacker, who fled the store.
A purplish and yellow stab wound shut with six staples were visible just above a taped gauze bandage covering his ribs on his left side. Stitched stab wounds were visible on the tailor's chest, face and hands.
"He had a gash on his face and he was holding himself so I was pretty sure he had a gash down there," said Matthew Moreno, who works next door.
Tamagoglu was taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition with stab wounds to the chest, cuts to the face, a fractured skull and a punctured left lung, police said. He says he fought back because he thought he was going to die.
The Kips Bay resident says this wasn't the first robbery he's faced. He was robbed by a man 20 years ago, who shot him in the hand. Despite being shot at, he called his attacker a "nice robber" because he didn't think the man wanted to kill him.
Regulars at Tamagoglu's store describe him as a nice older man who worked alone. The tailor says he's planning to go back to work in "a couple of weeks", but looks forward to resting.
He thanked the police and the community for their efforts.
Franklyn faces charges of attempted murder and robbery, among other crimes. It wasn't immediately clear if he had retained an attorney who could comment on the allegations.