By Katie McFadden
Some staff from Pickles & Pies are in a pickle. Two staff members were arrested on the morning of Saturday, June 11, following an altercation with a drunk customer that left him on life support.
According to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, Saber Abuhamra, 34, and Jorge Hernandez, 23, were charged with assault and strangulation after they allegedly attacked a customer.
According to a story in the New York Daily News, witnesses and Abuhamra’s lawyer claim James Keena, 31, was deeply intoxicated when he allegedly caused a scene over fries that weren’t crispy enough at the Beach 116th deli. The staff claims they acted in self-defense, as Abuhamra says he came out to try to calm Keena down, when he says Keena told him he had a gun. Keena was not found with a weapon.
According to the DA’s office, between 4:50 a.m. and 5:15 a.m., Hernandez punched Keena and pushed him, causing him to hit his head on a counter. He then put his arm around Keena’s neck and held him while Abuhamra punched and kicked him in the head and stomach. This allegedly continued for several minutes until Keena lost consciousness and began seizing and shaking. Keena was taken to the hospital in critical condition and placed on life support because he was unable to breathe on his own. The store was closed for several hours following the incident as police investigated. They allegedly found that Pickles’ video system had been ripped out of the wall.
“This is yet another instance where a seemingly minor dispute escalated into serious physical violence. We will hold these defendants accountable,” District Attorney Katz said.
Note, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.