A man was arrested for allegedly beating a Freeport gas station attendant who asked the suspect to maintain social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nassau County police said.
Hiram Vega, 41, of Queens, was charged with three counts of assault.
Major Case Bureau-Gang Investigations Squad detectives said the victim asked the suspect to step back because he got too close when paying for gas at 10:35 p.m. Friday. Vega got mad, got a metal bar out of his car, and hit the 67-year-old victim in the head, ribs, and leg, police said.
The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment of a fractured skull. The suspect fled the scene but was later arrested.
Vega’s bail was set at $75,000 cash or $150,000 bond following his initial court appearance Saturday. He’s due back in Nassau County court Tuesday.
Public confrontations over masks and social distancing have become commonplace since Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order mandating masks and social distancing in public places after New York State became a COVID-19 hot-spot in March.
In one instance, a man was arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman who asked him to put on a mask while they rode together on a Suffolk County Transit bus near downtown Riverhead in July, Southampton Town Police said. A woman was caught on video berating a Massapequa supermarket worker who asked her to wear a mask in August.