2016-03-09 / Features

Cops Arrest Astoria Man In Deadly Rampage

BY LIZ GOFF

A disturbed 23-year-old Astoria man is in police custody at Elmhurst Hospital Center as of Sunday night, following a deadly day-long rampage by the suspect that left a 55-year-old man dead and five other people injured, including two police officials and a police officer who were attacked while attempting to arrest the man.

The sound of gunfire erupted outside the 114th Precinct just before 6 p.m. on March 6, shortly after cops received a call of a burglary in progress at a liquor store at 38-18 Astoria Blvd.

Cops responded to the liquor store, where they engaged in a foot chase with the suspect, identified as James Patrick Dillon. A deputy inspector and lieutenant at the NYPD Critical Response Command spotted Dillon moments later, holed up in his own back yard at his family home on 36th Street near Astoria Boulevard.

When the police officials closed in on Dillon, he threw a caustic substance on their hands and faces.


Police search for the murder weapon after a deadly rampage. 
Photo Melissa Mennona Police search for the murder weapon after a deadly rampage. Photo Melissa Mennona Shots rang out on 36th Street as cops tried to make Dillon drop the knife before he could harm another victim, police said. Dillon was struck several times in the legs before the cops were able to place him under arrest.

Firefighters at the scene helped the two police officials who were taken to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital for treatment. Both men remained at the hospital where they are listed in stable condition.

The police officer was treated for an undisclosed hand injury at Mount Sinai Queens and released, police said.

Cops recovered a knife and beer bottle on 36th Street following Dillon’s arrest. Investigators believe Dillon used the items in the attacks.

Cops said Dillon killed the 55-year-owner of an Astoria liquor store, stabbed a female neighbor in the head and set a 61-year-old homeless man on fire in the horror spree that set off a massive manhunt and ended with his arrest.


A knife and beer bottle found on 36th Street following Dillon’s arrest. Investigators believe Dillon used the items in the attacks and James Patrick Dillon suspect in attacks. 
Photos DCPI A knife and beer bottle found on 36th Street following Dillon’s arrest. Investigators believe Dillon used the items in the attacks and James Patrick Dillon suspect in attacks. Photos DCPI George Petouhas, 55, owned Astoria Liquors on Steinway Street near Astoria Boulevard. Police said Petouhas was working behind a counter when Dillon walked in at about 3 p.m. and started to argue with a homeless man inside the store. When Petouhas tried to toss Dillon out of the store, Dillon sprayed the homeless man with an accelerant and set him on fire. Dillon then turned his rage on Petouhas and stabbed him in the neck. Petouhas was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens where he died a short while later.

The 61-year-old homeless man was taken to the Weill-Cornell Burn Unit, where he is listed in stable condition.

Friends said Patouhas was known for his generosity. “He couldn’t stand to see anyone in need,” said Spiros Mourelatos, a friend of Patouhas. His daughter attends St. Demetrios Elementary School and his wife, Despina, is a teacher at St. Demetrios H.S. on 31st Street in Astoria.

Hours before the murder, Dillon stabbed a neighbor in the head in front of 25-69 38th St., police said. The 39-year-old woman was taken to Mount Sinai of Queens where she is listed in stable condition.

Detectives at the 114th Precinct Squad shut down the eastbound lanes of the Grand Central Parkway on Sunday afternoon, after they learned Dillon might have tossed a knife he used in the attacks onto the roadway. No weapon was recovered there and the highway was reopened a short while later, police said.

Family members said Dillon suffers from a psychiatric condition and that he has been off his medications for a while.

Dillon was arrested and taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center in critical condition where he is facing murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and assault charges.

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