MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT—The man accused of viciously attacking a Spanish tourist with a hammer in City Hall Park told cops he repeatedly bashed the stranger in the head because the Spaniard and his girlfriend called him “gay” and a “Nazi.”
“Something inside me just snapped, and I grabbed the hammer and attacked the male,” suspect Douglas Epp, who initially claimed his name was John Yoos, told police after his July 30 arrest, according to documents released Tuesday.
“They called me gay and a Nazi,” Epp, 38, continued. “That guy called me a Nazi and I just lost it.”
But prosecutors and witnesses say Epp was the one who hurled slurs before attacking Hugo Alejandre, 31, with the claw side of a hammer as Alejandre and his girlfriend ate pizza on a park bench.
According to witnesses, Yoos was the one who allegedly called Alejandre a "Nazi motherf---er" and screamed other epithets about Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Nazis, as he viciously beat him.
Epp, who pleaded not guilty to second-degree attempted murder and other related charges at the hearing, admitted in court documents to bashing the tourist in the head at least ten times.
He told cops he headed into the park on July 30 to "read the paper and kill some time" before applying for jobs at some local restaurants in late afternoon.
But after the couple, who he said were eating pizza nearby, "had some rude words to say" he claimed he grabbed a hammer he had spotted under a bench and attacked.
Prosecutors said Yoos — who was dressed in a navy suit — suddenly pulled out a hammer and without provocation continued to beat Alejandre "over and over again" as the Spaniard fell to the ground.
Good Samaritans were eventually able to wrestle Yoos to the ground and held him there until he was hauled away by cops.
Though Epp only said "not guilty" in court Tuesday — while dressed in the same navy suit — in court documents, he told authorities he was sorry for what he did.
"This is not my demeanor and I am ashamed this altercation occurred," he said. "This was clearly not the correct reaction, and nothing like this has happened before."
"Let me apologize to the couple, the police and the court for my erroneous reaction," he added.
Aejandre suffered deep head wounds as well as a spinal fracture in the attack, prosecutors said. He was released from Bellevue Hospital soon after the attack.
But in an added twist to the bizarre attack, a man claiming to be the real John Yoos, a Canadian chess master from Canada, contacted the DA’s office in August, saying Epp had stolen his identity.
Yoos told DNAinfo.com that he knew Epp through friends in Vancouver, but hadn’t seen the man, who he described as “unstable and a “drifter” in years.
The real Yoos, 41, said he has no idea how Epp obtained all his personal information, but he's now convinced the suspect has been living under his identity in America for many years.
Yoos has lived in Canada for many years, but is a U.S. citizen who grew up in Minnesota.
During Epp’s court appearance Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney John Temple said that after seeing the real Yoos’ passport and other documents he was sure of Epp’s identity.
Epp, who lives in Crown Heights, is being held without bail. He's due back in court on Oct. 30.