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Mother makes identification in Flushing murder-suicide

Mother makes identification in Flushing murder-suicide
A murder-suicide and arson rocked downtown Flushing last month, causing rush hour traffic jams and confusion.
By Connor Adams Sheets

The body of a man who was originally misidentified in a murder-suicide and arson last week in downtown Flushing has been positively identified by his mother, according to state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing).

The man, Zhang Zhen, 22, is believed to have cut his wrists before setting fire to an immigration services center at 136-79 Roosevelt Ave. after killing a worker there by slashing his throat.

Despite his identification by his mother at the morgue last week, authorities were still moving forward with a DNA test because his body was so badly burned it is difficult to say whether he is actually her son, Meng said.

“She did go identify the body in the morgue and she thinks it was him, but they’re actually doing a DNA test because everyone wants to be super-sure,” Meng said.

Zheng was originally misidentified shortly after the incident as Shao-Fan Gong, 27, by Gong’s wife. Gong’s name was reported in initial media reports.

An investigation into the cause of the fire has not been completed, according to Meng.

Family members of the murder victim, Chang Xin Hu, 42, arrived in the United States for his funeral, which Meng said will likely take place this Thursday or Friday.

At about 2:30 p.m. Oct. 23, two Chinese men got into an argument, probably over an immigration matter at the center, which was torched, snarling traffic in downtown Flushing for hours.

The man thought to be Zhen was alive when he was removed from the building, but died later that day at New York Hospital Queens, where he had been taken for treatment following the incident.

Meng has since called for legislation to require licensing of immigration service centers, which often provide legal services without employing an attorney and target vulnerable new immigrants.

The incident marked the sixth homicide of the year in the 109th Precinct, double last year’s total of three by this point.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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