Suspect in Astoria spree arraigned on murder charge

By Bill Parry

An Astoria man who went on a violent rampage earlier this month is facing 25 years to life in prison, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office. James Patrick Dillon, 23, fatally stabbed one man, slashed a woman and set another man on fire before he was shot by police on March 6, was arraigned last Thursday at Elmhurst Hospital Center where he is recovering from gunshot wounds.

Dillon faces charges of second-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth-degree, according to the criminal complaint.

Dillon, a diagnosed schizophrenic who was off his medication, according to the NYPD, began his crime spree slashing a woman on his block on 36th Street after 11 a.m. Dillon has been tied by the NYPD to another slashing on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights but he has not been charged with that crime, according to the criminal complaint as that investigation continues.

Dillon returned to Astoria where he stabbed store owner George Patouhas in the neck and doused a 61-year-old homeless man with an accelerant and set him on fire. Patouhas was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital Queens where he later died.

Dillon was cornered by two officers from the anti-terror Critical Response Command at 25-38 36th St. He allegedly sprayed the officers with the accelerant burning their hands.

When Dillon refused to drop a knife the officers fired seven times hitting Dillon in his legs, according to the NYPD.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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