A New York City supermarket butcher became a hero on Friday when he defended his autistic coworker from an unprovoked attack by a career criminal.
Ray Wilkins, 49, had just clocked out of his job at a Queens grocery store and was warming up his moped when he witnessed a man “running through the parking lot” at another employee, who has special needs.
“I thought maybe he knew him and he was going to run up and give him a hug…until I saw he threw the first punch and hit him,” Wilkins told the New York Post on Saturday. “He hit him in the face repeatedly probably six, seven times before I was able to get from my moped over there. He didn’t say nothing, he just ran right up and started punching him. I was able to get over there and grab this guy and threw him off of him.”
The alleged attacker was 23-year-old Jack Crumbley, who is also accused of shoplifting from a nearby Stop & Shop around 8 p.m. that evening before setting his sights on the unsuspecting 19-year-old victim, who works as a helper at the supermarket.
Wilkins recalled how he was trying to call 911 when Crumbley “turns around and swung at me again so, again, I had to back up and defend myself.”
“The guy swung at me, hit me in the face twice, and I did what I had to do to defend myself,” Wilkins said. “He threatened me a few times. He said, ‘Do you want this smoke?’ and reaching into his pants like he had a weapon, hoping that I would back away,” the butcher said.
After trading punches, Crumbley attempted to just walk away but Wilkins wasn’t going to let him escape.
“I was not going to let him get away with assaulting me and my coworker. There’s no way I was going to let that happen,” he said.
The butcher began running after the suspect, even jumping a fence to chase him down.
“I hopped over the fence and I stumbled and hurt my back,” he told the outlet.
Wilkins managed to chase Crumbley in the direction of the NYPD’s 100 precinct station house while on the phone with 911, and was able to flag down two cops.
“I was screaming. ‘Hey stop that guy. He just assaulted someone at my workplace and he assaulted me,'” he recounted.
NYPD sources told the Post that Crumbley was arrested for allegedly robbing the Queens store and attacking the employees.
Sources also said that Crumbley is a violent career criminal with over 20 prior arrests, and was wanted on an open bench warrant for another unprovoked attack in September 2022.
In that incident, he allegedly punched a Queens bus driver for driving “recklessly.”
The unhinged attacker was caught a month later, but released back into the soft-on-crime city.
A judge issued a warrant for Crumbley’s arrest last month for that case.
The Post added that the crazed man lives in a homeless shelter.