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Suspect Killed a Man, Set Another on Fire and Slashed Woman in Queens: NYPD

By  Katie Honan and Michael P. Ventura | March 6, 2016 9:04pm | Updated on March 7, 2016 7:57am

 Police said James Dillon began his spree a few houses up from his home on 36th Street. Hours later he returned home, where he was shot by police.
Police said James Dillon began his spree a few houses up from his home on 36th Street. Hours later he returned home, where he was shot by police.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan/ NYPD

QUEENS — A man was stabbed to death, another was set on fire and a woman was slashed in the face by a suspect who went on a bloody rampage in Astoria before he was shot by police Sunday, police said.

James Patrick Dillon, 23, began his spree at 11:20 a.m., police said, when he slashed Bertha Carpio, 39, near 25-69 36 St.

Dillon struck again at 3:09 p.m. at a liquor store near 38-18 Astoria Blvd., stabbing a 55-year-old to death and setting a 61-year-old man on fire, police said.

The 55-year-old man, who owned the liquor store, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. He tried to remove Dillon from his store after he started an argument with an employee, police said.

The 61-year-old man was taken to New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in critical condition for severe burns.

The attacks launched a manhunt throughout Queens for Dillon, who police officials later said had "psychological problems." 

At 5:11 p.m., a woman called 911 to report that a burglar was trying to break into her apartment on 42nd Street through the fire escape. The man turned out to be Dillon, according to police.

Half an hour later he returned to his home at 25-38 36th St., where he encountered NYPD officers who were looking for him, police said.

Dillon was carrying a Corona bottle and a knife, police said, and when officers ordered him to drop the knife he sprayed them with an unknown liquid from the beer bottle.

Officers then fired seven shots, although it's not clear where they hit Dillon, who was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition, police said. 

The officers, from the NYPD's critical response command, had burns to their hands and faces from the accelerant, police said. It was not immediately clear what the liquid was.

"This has been a very unusual day here in Astoria," Assistant Chief Diana Pizzuti from Queens North said Sunday night at a press conference outside the 114th Precinct, around the corner where Dillon's attacks began. 

Carpio — was was recovering back at home with a bandaged head — told DNAinfo New York she was on her way to pick up her child from school at a local church when she encountered Dillon.

"On my way out I saw this guy," she said in Spanish through an interpreter. "I've seen him before, but never talked. I looked at him, I think he got mad because I made eye contact. He said, 'What are you looking at you f---ing b----?' I asked, 'What did you say to me?' He repeated it."

She walked away, but Dillon cut her off, grabbed her by the back part of her coat and first tried to hit her with a brick, she said.

Carpio recovering at home hours after she was stabbed by her neighbor James Dillon, police said. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)

Carpio fought back, but Dillon then slashed her across the cheek and stabbed her in the back of the neck, she said. Dillon then fled the scene, police said.

Carpio was slashed on the cheek by Dillon, who she never interacted with before Sunday. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)

She was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in stable condition, and released. Hours later she and her family heard gunshots from when police confronted Dillon, just up the street from where she was attacked.

"I don't know how to feel," she said. "It's scary."

Peter Olsen lives across the street from Dillon's home and said he's known the suspect since he was a kid. Olsen said he rarely spoke to Dillon, who lived at the house with his parents and was mostly quiet.

"He got worse when he got older," Olsen said. "He ran with a bad crowd. He had to be doing drugs. He was just a mess all the time. It's a shame."