By Karen Frantz
A 17-year-old from East Elmhurst was arrested and charged with attempted murder in connection with a ferocious attack on a teenage girl, who was hit with a brick in an Astoria alleyway and left with serious head injuries, the Queens district attorney said last weekend.
“The defendant is accused of a particularly vicious and brutal assault that has left a young girl clinging to life,” DA Richard Brown said. “The case will be vigorously prosecuted.”
According to Brown, Omar Khogali was walking along the street near the corner of 43rd Street and 23rd Avenue at 10:45 p.m. April 9. Around that time a witness saw him go up to several cars and jiggle the door handles, Brown said.
The victim apparently saw Khogali and started to scream, and Brown said Khogali allegedly hit her over the head repeatedly with a brick in order to silence her.
Brown said video surveillance footage allegedly caught Khogali fleeing the crime scene, dropping a bloody brick near the intersection of 43rd Street and 23rd Avenue. The brick was later found on the ground at that location, Brown said.
In addition to the attempted murder count, Khogali was also charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon, the DA said. He is being held without bail and faces 25 years in prison if convicted.
The girl was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, where she was listed in critical but stable condition. Police said Wednesday morning that there was no update on the girl’s condition and the DA’s office said her relationship to Khogali was unknown, saying the case was still under investigation.
The Friday after the attack, some residents in the area walked by the alley to check out the scene, saying they had heard about the assault on the news and had seen a swarm of reporters and television crews descend upon the street in the days after the crime.
Some said they were surprised to hear about violence in the neighborhood.
“I feel so bad,” said one woman, who declined to give her name.
She said she had lived in the neighborhood for 52 years and that nothing like this had ever happened before.
“This is the first time,” she said. “I hope this is the last.”
A couple out walking their dog agreed that the neighborhood is safe.
“It seems like a strange occurrence,” said Jason Wiseman.
His wife, Jennifer, added that she walks around at night by herself, often without a second thought.
Khogali is scheduled to next appear in court April 29.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.