Hate crime suspected in attack on store owner

Cops are looking for four men who allegedly attacked a business owner on Mermaid Avenue near West 17th Street Saturday afternoon.

Authorities say the gang entered Asiri Convenience & Smoke Shop at 2:20 p.m., directed ethnic slurs toward Jamal Sawaid, 58, and punched him in the face. One of the men hit Sawaid with a metal pipe, cops said.

Jamal Sawaid in the hospital after the attack. Photos courtesy of Ari Kagan

The attackers fled by van in an unknown direction.

Sawaid was treated at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn and has returned to work.

The Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident.

Smoke shop owner Jamal Sawaid is back at work after the assault. Photos courtesy of Ari Kagan

Anyone with information can call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 (or 1-888-577-4782 for Spanish). Tips can also be submitted at nypdcrimestoppers.com or on Twitter at @NYPDTips.

Jamal Sawaid’s wife Marie Shahzada speaks at a press conference April 18. Photos courtesy of Ari Kagan

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