Suspect in mosque attack arraigned two years later

By Juan Soto

A Queens Village man was arraigned last week in Queens Supreme Court, accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a Jamaica mosque more than two years ago during an arson spree that included an attack on a house used as a Hindu temple.

According to a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney’s office, Ray Lengend, 43, was charged with arson as a hate crime, arson and attempted arson, among several other criminal counts.

Lengend, of Guyanese descent, is accused of hurling a homemade firebomb at the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center, on the Wan Wyck Expressway, on New Year’s Day 2012 because of his hatred for Muslims, Arabs and Hindus, said DA Richard Brown at the time of his indictment in March 2012.

The Al-Khoei Islamic Center is the largest Shiite mosque in New York.

“Particularly troubling is the fact that the defendant is alleged to have been motivated by hate in at least two instances where he is alleged to have struck at a Muslim house of worship and attempted to strike at a second location, which is a Hindu house of worship,” said DA Brown at the time.

After throwing the Molotov cocktail at the religious building, he drove away to Elmont, L.I., where he allegedly, according to the complaint, threw another Molotov cocktail at a relative’s house. The homemade bomb did not explode.

Lengend was charged with carrying out other attacks using Frappuccino coffee glass bottles filled with gasoline, said Brown, including the Hindu center on 170th Street.

He was arrested days after the 2012 attacks, but it was not until last week that he was found fit to stand trial. He was treated at a maximum security mental hospital.

The suspect was busted by detectives of the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica as he was getting into a stolen car, authorities said at the time of his arrest. The vehicle was linked, police said, to another attack at a Hillside Avenue bodega.

He is suspected of carrying out this attack before hurling the Molotov cocktail at the Van Wyck Expressway mosque.

Lengend is also facing federal charges for hate-crime and arson in relation to the firebombings.

He is due back in court in September, the spokeswoman at the DA’s office said.

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.