The New York City Police Department has arrested a man suspected of assaulting 90-year-old candy shop legend Ray Alvarez, multiple outlets reported Saturday.
Luis Peroza, age 39, was charged Friday night in the attack on Mr. Alvarez, Fox 5 New York and other outlets reported.
“Then he told his friend, ‘Hold this I want to kill this guy,'” Alvarez told NBC’s News 4 New York of the attack he suffered at 3 a.m. just outside his Manhattan shop on Tuesday, January 31.
“I thought this looks like the end,” Alvarez also said of the beating.
“This happens, you know, and I still love New York,” he added.
A bloodied and bruised Alvarez was determined to never allow the attack slow him down. He reportedly went right back to work the next day.
Alvarez, the owner of Ray’s Candy Shop in the East Village, appeared in an on-camera interview shortly after the attack. In the video, Alvarez is seen working behind the counter at his shop with a badly blackened left eye and a wound near his left ear.
In recounting the frightening encounter, Alvarez told News 4 that he was whacked in the head with a belt that had a rock on its end after he politely declined to purchase seltzer water from his attacker.
Two days after the attack, on Thursday, Alvarez was treated at Beth Israel Hospital for extensive injuries, the New York Post reported. He is only able to eat through a straw, he told the Post, as his his jaw was dislocated and he has three broken bones in his face and eye area.
Initially, Alvarez was reluctant to report the attack. After some encouragement by folks in the neighborhood, he changed his mind, NBC New York reported.
“Serving the public is the greatest thing in the world,” said a then spry, smiling Alvarez in a November 7, 2022 video celebrating the Manhattan legend’s 90th birthday.
A GoFundMe campaign featured the roughly five-minute video that describes the shop as a “New York City institution” open since 1974.
“If you’ve not been to Ray’s, you’ve not really been to New York,” the video quips.
The effort was launched to raise funds to help Alvarez keep his doors open following pandemic-related losses as well as rising food costs and energy bills.
To date, the GoFundMe campaign has raised $57,768.
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