NEW YORK, March 7 (UPI) — Two New York City police officers were injured by a man who sprayed them with chemical accelerant during his arrest after a violent rampage, police said.
Patrick James Dillon, 23, allegedly had a beer bottle full of chemical accelerant, a substance designed to spread fires, as well as a knife on his person when he was arrested Sunday. Dillon threw the bottle at police, who shot him twice in the legs during the arrest in the Astoria section of the borough of Queens, police said.
Dillon was hospitalized in critical condition. The two police officers sustained face and hand burns, and were hospitalized and released.
The arrest came after a manhunt involving hundreds of police officers. Police said Dillon slashed a female neighbor, 39, in the neck and face, and four hours later stabbed a liquor store owner, George Patouhas, 55, to death in his store, one mile away from the first assault. Dillon also is accused of setting fire to a homeless man, 61, with the accelerant. He then attempted to break into an apartment, fleeing down a fire escape, when he was arrested, dousing the arresting officers with the chemical, police said.
The neighbor, who was slashed, and the homeless man, who was burned, were in stable condition in local hospitals, the New York Police Department said. Their names were not released.
NYPD Assistant Chief Diana Pizzuti said Sunday night that “hundreds of officers looked high and low” for the assailant.
“This has been a very unusual day in Astoria.”
Officers suspected Dillon had a psychological problem. His family said he had recently declined to take his medication.