Rash of stabbings spurs outcry

Richmond Hill resident Jasmir Singh (c.), who was stabbed in the eye during an attack in Jackson Heights last week, denounces the violence along with Assemblyman Jose Peralta (r.) in front of Elmhurst Hospital Friday. Photo by Jeremy Walsh
By Jeremy Walsh

After a spate of stabbings, including an attack on a Sikh man in Jackson Heights that leaders are calling a hate crime and a suspected gang−related slaying in Elmhurst, elected officials gathered in front of Elmhurst Hospital last week to decry the violence.

“Enough is enough,” said state Assemblyman Jose Peralta (D−Jackson Heights). “We’re not going to tolerate these acts any longer.”

Peralta said his office was partnering with the Guardian Angels to help establish neighborhood patrol organizations on any block in his district that desires it.

The violence started Jan. 18, when a young Sikh man was stabbed in the eye by three young men in Jackson Heights.

Jasmir Singh, 21, of Richmond Hill, was walking along 37th Avenue shortly after 4 a.m. when he and his friend were accosted by three men.

“They were making remarks about my hair, beard, threatening to cut it,” he told the media at Elmhurst Hospital Friday. Singh and his friend made their way into an all−night supermarket, but the men followed him in and attacked him.

“They dragged me out and beat me,” he said. Singh was stabbed in the eye with a broken bottle during the attack, which may leave him blind in that eye, Elmhurst hospital officials said.

Police arrested Jackson Heights residents Kevin Burgos, 21, and Shaban Rahman, 16. They were arraigned the next day on charges of gang assault and attempted robbery. Burgos was held on $100,000 bail and Rahman on $150,000 bail, police said.

“I’m very disappointed that this had to happen,” Singh said. “I usually feel so safe in this neighborhood. I grew up in this neighborhood.”

The next incident occurred Jan. 19 in Elmhurst, when 19−year−old Manhattan resident Nicholas Donaldi−Subero was stabbed to death at Petit Avenue and Ketcham Street by at least 10 other young men in what the New York Post said was a retaliation for the stabbing of a Latin Kings gang member.

Police arrested East Elmhurst resident Martin Arce, 17; Corona resident Christian Barerra, 17; Fresh Meadows resident Jason Molano, 19; Corona resident Paul Mora, 23; and Jackson Heights resident Ruben Mendoza, 20, in connection with the attacks.

Mendoza was charged with second−degree murder, gang assault, manslaughter and criminal weapons possession, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Arce was charged with gang assault, manslaughter and robbery, Mora and Molano were charged with gang assault and manslaughter and Barrera was charged with possession of stolen property after police found him with the dead man’s credit card, the DA said.

Finally, on Friday, 29−year−old Jose Osorio was stabbed while walking home, Peralta’s office said. He was treated and released Saturday, Elmhurst Hospital officials said.

Meanwhile, Sikh activists called on the NYPD not to disregard the potential bias crime component of the attack on Singh.

“I was with a friend of mine, and they weren’t accosting him in the manner they were accosting me,” he said.

Singh said this was the fourth time members of his family have been attacked. His father, an Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker, was stabbed while working on the No. 2 subway line because of his beard, he said.

Harpreet Toor, leader of the Sikh Cultural Society in Richmond Hill, said attacks on Sikhs in the city have been common since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“It really never went down after 911,” he said, noting many Sikhs do not report violence against them. “The people just take it as, ‘Oh, it was a misguided person, it was going to happen to someone.’ I’m like, ‘Why you, then?’ ”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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