By Howard Koplowitz
A homeless man was beaten to death with a pipe Friday near a Sikh temple in Richmond Hill, police and neighbors said.
Detectives at the scene would only say that there was a homicide at around 6 a.m. Friday at the scene at 97th Avenue between 117th and 118th streets in Richmond Hill — two blocks away from the 102nd Precinct station.
But one 118th Street resident said detectives told him a homeless man was beaten with a pipe.
The resident, who wanted to be identified only as Mark, said there are usually a few homeless who gather near the Sikh Cultural Society temple, but they do not cause problems.
“There's quite a few,” Mark said. “I never saw anybody have an argument with them.”
Jagir Singh Bains, a Community Board 6 member and congregant of the Sikh Cultural Society, said the man was known in the community as a drunk.
“I heard he used to drink a lot and he used to hang around there,” Bains said.
Andy Ramsaroop, who lives a few blocks away from the murder, said the homeless “usually help with construction” being performed to renovate the temple.
He also said he never saw anyone harm the homeless, whom he identified as Sikh men.
“This is [a Sikh] area,” Ramsaroop said. “You don't see [violence] out here.”
Mark said the neighborhood is usually quiet, although there were some bias incidents committed against Sikhs near the temple shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.