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Two men sprayed with fire extinguisher in possible hate crimes, New York police say

The two incidents happened about half a mile apart Sunday morning in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, police said.

Authorities in New York were searching Tuesday for a man accused of spraying two people with a fire extinguisher in what the city’s police department described as a possible “hate crime assault pattern.” 

The man, who has not been identified, used the extinguisher in two separate incidents in Brooklyn around 6 a.m. Sunday, the New York Police Department said in a statement.

The alleged assaults were reported in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

In a security video released by New York police, a man appears to run across a street and spray a man walking on a sidewalk. The victim continues walking and the man appears to follow and spray him again.

The New York Police Department is searching for a man accused of spraying a fire extinguisher at two people in separate incidents in Brooklyn on Sunday morning.
The New York Police Department is searching for a man accused of spraying a fire extinguisher at two people in separate incidents in Brooklyn on Sunday morning. New York Police Department

The first incident involved a 72-year-old man who told authorities that a group approached him and a person sprayed him, the statement said.

No one said anything before the incident and the group fled, police said

No injuries were reported, the department said.

A half-mile away, a 66-year-old man provided a similar account, the department said: A group approached him, and one person sprayed him with the extinguisher and then punched him. 

The group then fled, the department said, adding that the victim refused medical attention.

Authorities did not provide additional details about the nature of the possible hate crimes and said its hate crimes task force was investigating the incidents.