The beloved 90-year-old owner of New York City’s famous Ray’s Candy Store was violently beaten outside his shop in the East Village on Tuesday. Despite being left with a black eye and a cut on his face, Ray Alvarez didn’t miss a day of work.

Ray Alvarez outside Ray’s Candy Store

Around 3 am on Tuesday, Alvarez stepped outside of his store to get some fresh air when two men approached him, asking if he wanted to buy their six-pack of soda. When Alvarez said no, one of the men began to beat him with a belt attached to a rock.

“They got very mad,” reported Alvarez. “He told his friend ‘Hold this package. I’m going to kill this mothef***er.'”

“He surprised me and I thought the end of the world, I hit the ground, saw the blood and I thought this looks like the end,” Alvarez said. “I did expect that he was really going to kill me.”

Alvarez’s eye was injured in the attack, and he sustained a laceration to the head.

Ray Alvarez, 90, after being attacked outside his candy shop

A few hours after the attack, Alvarez was back on the job and running his store like usual.

Ray’s Candy Store was opened by Alvarez in 1974 and has since had many people, including celebrities, come through its doors. Alvarez has seen a lot in his five decades of running the shop, including shoplifting incidents, but never a violent act such as this one.

On Thursday, Alvarez told the New York Post that believes the attack was able to happen due to the shortage of police officers patrolling the neighborhood, which has become increasingly unsafe.

“There is a lot of crime because there is not enough police,” Alvarez said. “We used to have police on foot patrol, walking up and down. No more.”

“This happens, you know, and I still love New York,” Alvarez told another news outlet. “It’s OK, I’ll be alright, it will pass.”

While Alvarez has handled the attack with a cool head, his employees, neighbors, and community members are outraged.

Gabe Thorne, one of Alvarez’s employees, described Alvarez as “everyone’s grandpa.”

“People who don’t have family around, Ray takes care of everyone,” Thorne said. “The fact that this happened makes everyone super upset.”

According to the New York Police Department, no arrests have been made. They are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect.

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