George Patouhas, 55, owner of a liquor store in Queens, was stabbed to death by 23-year-old James Patrick Dillon on Sunday, according to The New York Times.
The Greek-American shopkeeper was known for his friendly manners and lenient payment plans. Customers told police that Patouhas was often harassed by some aggressive individuals, including Dillon.
According to police, Dillon started arguing in the Astoria Boulevard liquor store with a 61-year-old man who might have been homeless, and Patouhas intervened. After stabbing the store owner, the perpetrator stepped outside and threw an accelerant into the store, setting Patouhas and the other man on fire.
The Greek man was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens, and the 61-year-old man was taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he was hospitalized in stable condition, according to the report.
Dillon had started his violent outburst earlier, when he slashed a 39-year-old neighbor in the head and face near around 11:30 am. He fled the scene, and the woman was taken to a hospital in stable condition. Around 3 pm, he began another attack at the liquor store customers said he frequented.
Dillon was located by police in his backyard in Astoria a few hours later. He threatened police officers with a knife and spewed accelerant from a beer bottle at them. A police lieutenant and an inspector shot him, suffering burns from the accelerant. Dillon was taken to a nearby hospital with gunshot wounds to his leg.
According to neighbors, Patouhas lived with his wife and a young daughter, as well as his wife’s relatives.