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Suspect charged for killing Zhiwen Yan

Glen Hirsch, 51, of Briarwood has been indicted by a grand jury on charges related to the death of Zhiwen Yan, a 45-year-old Chinese food restaurant delivery worker from Middle Village, who was gunned down on his scooter back in April, just moments after dropping off an order in Forest Hills.

Zhiwen Yan and his wife on their wedding day.

According to investigators, on April 30, the suspect was observed on multiple surveillance cameras driving by the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant on Queens Boulevard.

Allegedly he had passed by the restaurant seven times, just before 9:30 p.m., when the victim, Yan, was said to have left the restaurant to deliver an order. He then managed to get behind the scooter and followed him to the address at 108th Street in Forest Hills.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said that Yan then dropped off the food order, returned to the scooter, and rode away. It was when he stopped at a red light, at the corner of 67th Drive and 108th Street, when Hirsch allegedly approached the victim on foot.

Having recognized Hirsch, Yan started to back away on the scooter. At that moment, the suspect allegedly fired a single shot, striking the delivery worker in the chest causing him to fall off his scooter. EMS quickly responded and transported Yan to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst where he was pronounced dead. The suspect and his Lexus RX3 SUV were also seen racing away from the scene.

“As alleged, a petty dispute over a take-out order became an obsessive point of contention for the defendant who began to stalk and harass employees at the restaurant for months,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement following the indictment. “The tragic end result was the murder of a hard-working employee, who left behind a devastated family and a grieving community. Gun violence is never the answer and will not be tolerated in Queens County. Following a thorough investigation by my office and the NYPD, the defendant has been apprehended and will now face justice in our Courts.”

Hirsch already had a history of causing issues with employees at the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant going back to Nov. 30, 2021, when the suspect allegedly placed an order that evening asking for extra packets of duck sauce, which he was provided. Nevertheless, he became irate and insisted that the restaurant refund his money because he wanted to return the food. But when the worker refused to take it back, Hirsch called the police.

When police arrived, the employee explained that due to COVID-19 protocols, they could not accept the order back. Hirsch then stormed out of the restaurant. Over the months that followed, he allegedly threatened and harassed several Great Wall employees, including the owner, Kai Yang.

The allegations further indicated that on Dec. 16, 2021, the victim, Zhiwen Yan, saw the defendant using a knife to damage a worker’s car that was parked outside. Hirsch allegedly threatened him, saying “I have a gun,” and “be careful, this is the last time I’m going to tell you.”

But as Hirsch left towards his vehicle, three restaurant workers followed and confronted him. One of them pulled down his mask while the others took pictures of his face and the license plate of his gray Lexus SUV with their cellphones.

The charges state that Hirsch then returned to the restaurant again on Jan. 28, this time brandishing a firearm and talking to one of the workers who was outside shoveling snow. He reportedly said, “How’s your car? Remember me? I will kill your entire family.” The employee quickly rushed back inside to call the police. When he returned outside, the suspect was gone but the tires on his car were slashed.

Hirsch was arrested on June 1, following the issuance of a warrant. A subsequent court-authorized search warrant was later executed at his wife’s home, where police say they recovered eight firearms from inside a closet believed to contain items belonging to the suspect.

He was arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth C. Holder on a 10-count indictment and is being charged with second degree murder, possession of a weapon, criminal mischief, menacing, and stalking.

If convicted on all charges, Hirsch faces between 29 and 44 years-to-life in prison.

Two women shot in Ridgewood

Neighborly checkup on domestic dispute turns deadly

A 51-year-old woman is dead and a 48-year-old woman is in critical condition following a domestic dispute that has police on the look out for a 55-year-old male named Pedro Cintron who fled the scene in Ridgewood early Monday morning.

Officers from the 104th precinct responded to 66-17 Fresh Pond Road at approximately 8:15 a.m. on Monday morning, where they found the 51-year-old victim, later identified as Migdalia Ortega, shot in the head, and a 48-year-old woman with two shots in her torso.

Police say a domestic incident between the 51-year-old woman and Cintron in their third floor apartment led to the 48-year-old woman, who lives on the second floor, to check on her upstairs neighbors.

The 48-year-old woman was then shot and as she fled to her apartment, Cintron followed her and continued shooting, according to NYPD Deputy Chief Julie Morrill. Police added that there had been no prior history of domestic violence between the two.

Cintron fled the scene, and there are no arrests as of press time.

During a press conference with law enforcement, it was revealed that the deceased victim was a civilian member of the NYPD with 11 years of service in the information technology bureau.

Assistant Chief Galen Frierson added, “There’s no words to describe exactly how we feel. We feel deeply for the family and we’re here to support them in anything they need.”

Hardworking food delivery worker fatally shot

The Forest Hills community mourns the loss of Zhiwen Yan, a food delivery worker at Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, who is remembered by locals for his warm greetings of “Hello, my friend.”

Yan, who lived in Middle Village, was fatally shot on April 30 around 9:30 p.m. while riding his scooter on his way to deliver food at the intersection of 108th St. and 67th Dr. in Forest Hills.

The husband and father of three endured a gunshot wound to the chest which caused him to fall off his scooter.

EMS responded and transported Yan to NYC Health and Hospitals/Elmhurst where he was pronounced dead.

It is uncertain why he was not brought to Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, which is only three blocks away from where he was killed.

At the time of publication, no arrests were made in this case and the investigation remains ongoing.

Zhiwen Yan and his wife on their wedding day.

Police say the current suspect is a 50-year-old customer who previously had issues with the restaurant staff because they once did not give him enough duck sauce.

He allegedly menaced Kai Yang, the restaurant’s owner, with a gun and vandalized his vehicle.

CBS New York reports that Yang gave the description of the customer’s car, a Lexus RX3 SUV, which matches the description of a car seen fleeing the murder scene.

Concerns in Forest Hills continue to rise as this is the second fatal crime to a neighbor that residents have seen in the community in recent weeks, following the murder of Orsolya Gaal.

Local elected officials and residents gathered with Yan’s family outside of their Middle Village home to mourn the community’s loss.

“This is a terrible and horrific tragedy and my heart aches for the victim’s loved ones. This delivery worker was working hard, trying to earn a living to support his family when he was senselessly shot and killed,” Congresswoman Grace Meng said in a statement.

“The incident underscores the need to combat gun violence throughout our city, and I am confident that the perpetrator will be apprehended.

The person responsible must face justice,” she continued. “My office will remain in touch with the 112th Precinct, and I will continue to be there for the family to provide any assistance they need.”

Two GoFundMe fundraisers have been widely shared in support of Yan’s wife and three children — one by a local resident named Frances

Kweller, and another by his wife, Eva Chao. To date, the two digital fundraisers raised a total of over $260,000.
No arrests have been made in this case, and the investigation remains ongoing.

Dual shootings outside Pomonok Houses

Two separate shooting incidents took place on Sunday night outside of the Pomonok Houses near Queens College, according to multiple reports on the Citizen app.

The first, reported at approximately 5:11 p.m., confirmed that police responded to reports of a man who had been shot in the abdomen.

A second report, made at approximately 11:55 p.m., confirmed that police transported an unidentified 26-year-old victim to a local hospital.

According to NY1, Queens College temporarily shut its doors on Monday morning in response to the nearby shootings.

Local City Councilman Jame Gennaro, whose district includes Pomonok, Kew Gardens Hills, Briarwood, Jamaica, and Fresh Meadows, issued a statement in response to the dual shooting incidents, which occurred just a few short hours apart.

“I have been in continuous contact with Commanding Officer Kevin Chan of the 107th Precinct and the Mayor’s Office well into the early hours of the morning and throughout the day today,” Gennaro said in his statement. “Both shooting victims are in the hospital. As we wait for additional details to emerge, I want my constituents to know that I and my office take this deadly violence at our doorstep with utmost seriousness and we need to act.”

Gennaro continued by addressing how he is doing everything in his power to make sure the community is safer.

“In both last year’s budget and this year’s budget, which will be passed in June, I have allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars of my discretionary funding for police surveillance cameras in crime hot spots in our community, as determined by the NYPD in consultation with me and community leaders,” Gennaro continued. “Additionally, our office is currently working to coordinate a town hall with the Police Department and our community to discuss public safety concerns and brainstorm ideas to boost safety in the district. In the meantime, I urge all my constituents to stay vigilant and continue to report any suspicious and/or illegal activity to 911 if the police are needed immediately, and if anyone has any information about yesterday’s shootings that may help the police, the Commanding Officer of the 107th Precinct has asked that witnesses call the precinct at 718-969-5100. I will keep the community apprised of any further developments in this case.”

Fatal shooting at Parsons Blvd/Archer Ave subway station

A 24-year-old Brooklyn man was fatally shot in the chest inside the Parsons Boulevard/Archer Avenue subway station on Monday afternoon.

Police say that at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, a verbal dispute quickly turned physical, eventually leading to five shots being fired inside the subway station.

NYPD Transit Chief Jason Wilcox said that the victim, Marcus Bethea, was standing near the token booth when the suspect initially approached him. When police arrived, first aid was rendered and Bethea was transferred to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“During the course of that fight, the suspect pulled out a firearm and fired several rounds that hit the victim in his torso,” Wilcox said during a Monday night briefing on the incident.

Camera footage was captured inside the subway station, police say, and it is currently under review by the department.

There is no arrest as of press time. Police urge anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-7577 (TIPS).

Officer-Involved Shooting in Astoria

A domestic dispute led to police shooting a 27-year-old Astoria man who was reportedly wielding a machete.

Officers from the 114th precinct responded to a 911 call at 9:48 a.m. at 31-63 33rd Street on the report of an emotionally-disturbed person armed with a weapon.

The 911 caller, later identified as Brianna Cortez, relayed to officers that the man had taken “a lot of pills” and was saying that he “wanted to die.”

Police say that the 27-year-old suspect, Eduardo Andrade, confronted officers in the apartment hallway while holding the 911 caller’s mother. Together, Cortez and Andrade have a three-year-old child, who reportedly witnessed the scene.

Chief of Department Kenneth Corey briefed the media later Monday morning, where he described the confrontation officers had with the suspect and preliminary information about the case.

“After getting the mother out of the apartment, the officers deployed a taser,” Corey said. “The taser had no effect.”

That’s when, police say, one officer discharged “approximately three rounds,” striking the man in his groin.

The 27-year-old suspect was transported to Elmhurst Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and is expected to recover.

Two of the four responding officers underwent medical evaluations, but did not sustain any serious injuries.

Corey went on to say that there is a “rather extensive domestic history” between Cortez and Andrade, which includes multiple allegations of domestic assault, harassment and violations of protection orders.

In a video circulating on social media, Cortez is at the scene yelling that she called the police over an argument.

“They didn’t ask questions,” Cortez can be heard saying. “They dragged my 53-year-old mother to the floor, ripped her shirt off, and then shot my son’s father twice in front of him.”

She continued, “This is why you don’t call the NYPD for help. They will shoot you and blame your family.”

Police relayed that the responding officers had body cameras on their person and they were activated at the scene. Those videos are currently being reviewed by the police department.


Oakland Gardens pols, community responds to shooting

Community leaders and elected officials in Oakland Gardens rallied on Monday after a 16-year-old student was shot last week at the intersection of Springfield Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway, calling for a coordinated response to address public safety concerns.

Shots were fired just two blocks away from the Benjamin N. Cardozo High School on Friday afternoon. According to The New York Post, reports of the incident prompted a school lockdown as the teenager was transported to a local hospital and is reportedly in stable condition.

“The last thing any parent wants to hear is that there was a shooting down the street from their kids’ school. My kids’ school is just down the road, and we do most of our shopping right here,” New York City Councilwoman Linda Lee said in a release. “ What happened on Friday is as tragic as it is frightening because if any student thinks it’s necessary to use a gun on someone else, we’ve failed them as a City. We’re here today to call for a coordinated response between parents, teachers, community leaders, school, police, and elected officials to get guns off the street, keep kids in school and out of trouble, and invest in their futures so they know there are alternatives to violence out there.”

Lee was joined by Congresswoman Grace Meng, Councilwoman Vickie Paladino, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Benjamin N. Cardozo High School PTA members and parents, and local business owners to call for an increase in the number of school safety agents, school counselors, and social workers at Cardozo High School, more officers for the 111th Precinct, and closer coordination between the school, precinct, and local business owners.

“It saddens me as a mother, life-long Queens resident, and as the Member of Congress representing this area to see yet another shooting in our Queens community, and this most recent incident being so close to one of our schools,” U.S. Rep. Meng said. “Cardozo High School is one of the pillars of education in our community and to hear about one of the students getting injured due to gun violence just blocks away from the school breaks my heart. We have to stand up, as parents, students, teachers, and everyday citizens to coordinate an end to this epidemic plaguing our community.”

Councilwoman Paladino called the shocking incident a “wake-up call to our community.”

“The fact is our district is not immune to the dramatic increase in violent crime our city is facing. Unfortunately, this is a direct result of years of bad policy decisions which have rewarded and excused criminal behavior,” Paladino said in a release. “My office is committed to reversing these policies and working closely with police, prosecutors, and the local community to restore public safety.”

State elected officials, who could not attend due to being in Albany, also sent statements of support to the school and the local community.

“Last Friday’s shooting sent shockwaves throughout Oakland Gardens and has alarmed our entire community,” Assemblywoman Nily Rozic said. “While the investigation continues, I join my colleagues in urging for proactive solutions to address the alarming rise of gun violence across New York and increased investments and support services at schools.”

New York State Senator John Liu said that the shooting was the second to take place in the community in less than a week, and emphasized the importance of addressing these “despicable acts.”

“Gun violence is unacceptable in any neighborhood but is especially egregious when it occurs so close to home, in our streets, and so close to our schools,” Liu said in a statement. “Bayside is not the Wild West! We must get these guns off the streets and out of the hands of our youth.”


Community rallies against illegal Airbnb in wake of shooting

Bayside residents are in an uproar after a shooting took place earlier this month outside of an Airbnb rental, which left one injured and launched stray bullets into the surrounding area, piercing through cars and even a child’s car seat.

“We are appalled by this incident and will do everything in our power to root out the bad actors and restore our quiet streets to the safe, welcoming neighborhood that we know and love,” Roseann Foley Henry, president of the Bellcourt Civic Association, said.

The property, located at 208-16 38th Avenue in Bayside, has been in the early stages of foreclosure for the last two years and is currently occupied by squatters who have illegally rented it out creating concern for the quality of life in the area.

Members of the community gathered with elected officials outside of the house early Friday morning to call on Airbnb to permanently ban listings at the address and for the city to intervene by issuing an order to vacate.

“We are calling on the city to stop giving our community the run around and issue a vacate order on this property before anyone else gets hurt,” New York State Senator John Liu said. “We also call on Airbnb to stop illegally allowing this property to be listed on their website. Two years is too long for our community to have one home hold an entire block hostage.”

The illegal rental property has been at the core of the issue, playing host to a barrage of late-night parties that have led to numerous complaints of excessive noise, litter, and confrontations with neighboring residents.

Mounting concerns from members of the community culminated into fear after one party-goer was shot in the torso. The victim is reported to be in stable condition, however no arrests have been made as police continue to investigate.

Following the shootout on March 19, elected officials sent a letter to the NYC Department of Buildings calling for a vacate order on the property, and a letter to Airbnb calling for the company to permanently ban any future listings at this address.

Liu said that it is up to the city to redouble its efforts so that it can gain access and properly inspect the property.

“There are several problems at this location that are preventing a satisfying resolution for our community,” Liu added. “At the end of the day, the city needs to be the one to step up and recognize the dangers here as reason enough to vacate the premises and keep our community safe.”

According to Joseph Marziliano, district manager of Community Board 11, the property in question was already problematic for the neighborhood, several years before squatters began listing it to renters online.

“For five years, this problematic property has plagued our neighbors, first as a zombie home, then as an alleged squatter’s den, and now as an illegal Airbnb with a shooting spilling over into the streets,” Marziliano said in a statement. “We are urging Mayor Adams’ administration to issue a vacate order to restore peace to our community.”

Assemblyman Edward Braunstein said that the absentee property owner only emboldened the squatters to not only illegally list the property, but to advertise rooms for rent within the single-family household.

“Enough is enough. Several times in the past, my office has worked with residents to get AirBnb listings at the property shut down, only for it to appear again under another account,” Braunstein said. “While authorities continue their investigation to apprehend the individuals responsible for the shooting, AirBnb must permanently ban listings at this location… we must use every tool at our disposal to address this serious matter once and for all.”

Young guns

Dear Editor,
Twenty-one children between the ages of 13 and 17 were killed in shootings and stabbings this year in New York City. The number of shootings of children under the age of 18 has risen to 105. This has to stop!
We need to bring back “stop and Frisk” to take guns off the street, bring back anti-gang units, and have more youth programs. Parents should not have to bury their child.
The mayor and the NYPD need to stop the killing of our youth. So far, Mayor Bill de Blasio has dropped the ball.
Frederick R. Bedell, Jr.

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