Sunday afternoon in Astoria, Queens, New York, was a hectic site for numerous police officers after a man being refereed to as a “maniac” went on a violent rampage that ended after responding police officers were forced to shoot him. The man slashed and stabbed a woman on the street across her face, stabbed another man to death, and set a homeless man on fire before flinging some sort of chemical into an officers face.
The suspect in question is 23-year-old James Patrick Dillon. He had to be hospitalized after police opened fire as a result of him allegedly refusing to relinquish the knife he had used in his vicious attacks. The young man lives with his family on the same block where the stabbings took place and reportedly has a history of mental illness. Two police officers, as well as an inspector and a lieutenant, were responsible for firing four to five rounds of bullets in order to hit Dillon when he ran from the police into his backyard. The young man was shot in his right leg and pelvis.
The police have reported that Dillon also harmed one of the officers who pursued him by throwing a bottle of an unknown chemical into the officer’s face. The police officer was decontaminated by paramedics late Sunday evening, and another officer whose hand was injured during the chase was also receiving treatment. The suspect was taken into custody and transported by ambulance to Elmhurst Hospital Center for treatment of his gunshot wounds.
The first victim of Dillon’s was a 39-year-old woman, Berta Carpio, who was walking with her husband Jesus on 36th St. in Astoria around 11:30 a.m., according to police. Her attack left her with stab wounds across the face and head. Her husband relayed the attack to the New York Post, stating that Dillon yelled, “What are you looking at, b***h?” towards Berta, before hurling a brick after her.
“My wife tried to keep moving, but he assaulted her, grabbed her by a hoodie and repeatedly slashed and stabbed her.“
Carpio says she is lucky to be alive considering her inch-deep head wounds. She was treated at Mount Sinai.
It was not until a few hours later that police caught up to James Dillon, but only after he had struck again, this time it was about 3 p.m. and few blocks from the initial stabbing. The scene was Astoria Liquors and Wines, where the mentally ill man had fatally stabbed the 55-year-old owner inside the store, and also allegedly tried to set the man on fire. He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital. Dillon encountered a homeless man inside the store as well and actually set him on fire. The elder homeless man is listed in critical condition at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Eventually, police managed to track down James Dillon near his home, and according to the New York Daily News, residents describe a wild chase ensuing from the encounter with multiple gunfire shots erupting in the streets. One neighbor described the scene as total chaos with “cops everywhere, running down the block with their guns drawn.”
The police believe that the mentally ill man may have also robbed someone in between his vicious stabbing attacks and attempts at arson. Two knives and a bag of stolen items were on his person when cops finally took him into custody at around 6 p.m.
James Dillon’s priors includes graffiti and trespassing, and the local residents have described him as being the neighborhood pest who constantly yells, throws rocks and has a “screw loose.” Police sources have indicated that in 2014, he was hospitalized for mental health reasons for about a month and has spent several stints in a psychiatric ward because he was “hearing voices.” Another neighbor and former classmate stated this tragic and violent attack was bound to happen as Dillon was expelled from high school for drop-kicking a security guard.
“He was just a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.”
[Photo Courtesy of NYPD]