By Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2020

FREEPORT, N.Y. (AP) - A New York City man was arrested Friday on charges he bashed a 67-year-old gas station attendant with a metal bar after the attendant asked him to observe social distancing during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hiram Vega, of Queens, was arraigned Saturday on assault charges stemming from the April 3 incident at a gas station in Freeport, Long Island. He has not posted bail, which was set at $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash, and remained jailed.

Vega, 41, is due back in court on Tuesday.

Court records show that Vega is represented by the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, which has a policy of not commenting to the media on pending cases.

According to police, Vega gave the attendant $10 for gas but got angry when the attendant told him he was standing too close and should step back.

Vega went back to his vehicle, grabbed a metal bar and struck the attendant in the head, ribs and right leg, police said.

The attendant suffered a fractured skull and a large laceration on his head, as well as multiple bruises, police said.

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