By Rebecca Henely
Elected officials from Jackson Heights and Corona urged residents Sunday to donate to a bank account set up for Jackson Heights assault victim Victor Mejia, who was beaten with a bat early Nov. 5 and remains in an induced coma at Elmhurst Hospital.
“We pray for Victor’s recovery,” said city Comptroller John Liu, who attended the event.
City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), along with Liu, Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and state Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights), collected funds at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights at 37-06 77th St. for a TD Bank account Ferreras’ office has set up for Mejia’s family.
“Thank you so much for taking your time and donating from your heart,” Ferreras told those at the drive.
Ferreras said she and her staff put up $200 to establish the account. During the drive that night, they raised about $2,700.
“I know this is going to be very, very appreciated and put to very, very good use,” Ferreras said.
Mejia, who was living in Corona, was the provider for his 22-year-old wife Candelaria Rodriguez and his sick mother in Mexico. He was beaten with a metal bat after being lured on a fake pizza delivery order to a residence on 75th Street in Jackson Heights. The two men who allegedly beat him, Jorge Paret, 28, and Anardo Batista, 23,ï»¿ have been charged with attempted murder, robbery, criminal possession of stolen property and criminal possession of a weapon, the Queens DA said.ï»¿
Dromm said he was a customer at the pizzeria, Due Franky’s Pizza, where Mejia worked, and remembers seeing him scrub the floors there. He said he was shocked the perpetrators would attempt to take a life so casually and dismissed critics who said he should not be helped because he is an undocumented immigrant. Dromm said he has an immigration lawyer working to get papers for Mejia and Rodriguez since there is a law allowing a victim of a violent crime to get a visa.
DenDekker said he has also orderedï»¿ from the restaurant where Mejia works.
“We are here to support him and are sorry for what happened,” DenDekker said.
Liu, a former city councilman, said that during his eight years on the Council he had seen a pattern of crimes in which an immigrant working for a restaurant that delivers ï»¿was attacked by the people who had placed the order and robbed. Liu said he believed that type of crime is a hate crime.
“We don’t want anyone to think that Mejia is a faceless immigrant worker,” Liu said. “This is a human being.”
Donations can be given at any TD Bank for account 4249506431.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.