May 30, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
A man on an e-scooter who was wanted by police for attacking several residents in Astoria and Long Island City has been arrested and charged with hate crime assaults.
Michael Torres, 45, was nabbed by police on Saturday, May 27, after he allegedly went on a crime spree of riding up behind his victims on his e-scooter and punching them in the head or body.
Torres, of 31st Avenue in Astoria, was charged with a hate crime assault in each of the five separate incidents throughout May. Torres is Hispanic and all of his victims are white, police said.
One of the incidents was captured on video and posted to Reddit allegedly showing Torres riding up behind a 30-year-old man on 35th Street — between Broadway and 31st Street – and sucker-punching the victim while he was walking on the sidewalk with a woman.
The video footage shows the suspect jumping off the scooter, and then thumping the victim in the side of the head with a left fist.
The force of the punch caused the victim to fall against the woman, knocking her against several trash cans, the video shows. The suspect then hurriedly gets back up on the scooter and flees the scene northbound on 35th Street.
The Reddit user who posted the video said he was the victim of the attack and that the suspect shouted racial slurs at him. The victim suffered pain and bruising to his face. He refused medical attention on the scene, police said.
The first incident took place on May 4 at around 6 p.m. in front of The Coffee Pot, a café located at 31-03 30th St., when Torres allegedly hit a 36-year-old man in the back of the head, police said. The victim was walking and had his 10-month-old child in a carrier at the time, police said.
Torres was also charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child under the age of 17 in relation to the incident, police said.
About a week later, on May 12, Torres struck again when he allegedly attacked another 36-year-old man on the corner of 34th Avenue and 41st Street in Long Island City, police said. Torres ran up to the victim from behind and punched him several times in the head before fleeing on a black scooter westward on 34th Street, cops said.
The victim, who was with a 4-year-old at the time, suffered pain, bruising, and a minor laceration behind his ear, police said. Torres was also charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child under the age of 17 in relation to this incident.
The next attack took place at around 7:10 a.m. on May 18, when a 43-year-old woman was allegedly assaulted by Torres outside P.S. 112 Dutch Kills, located at 25-05 37th Ave. in Long Island City.
The victim, cops said, was getting items out of her parked car when Torres rode up behind her on a scooter before unleashing several punches and kicks to her body.
The woman was transported by EMS to Mount Sinai and treated for her injuries.
Then, on May 22 at around 9 p.m., a 23-year-old woman was allegedly attacked by Torres while she was standing in front of a residence on 31st Avenue and 30th Street in Astoria, police said.
The victim was pushed to the ground by Torres and then struck several times about the body, police said.
Torres then fled the scene on a scooter southbound on 30th Street, police said.