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MTA train operator arrested in hit-and-run death of celebrity jeweler in Forest Hills

Photo via Instagram/@rafaello_eric

Updated 4:29 p.m.

An MTA train operator has been arrested for striking and killing a well-known jeweler in Forest Hills with his car, authorities said.

Charles Jordan, 46, of Long Island, is currently awaiting arraignment on charges of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting a death and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, the district attorney’s office said.

Aron Aranbayev, 40, had just gotten dropped off steps from his home on 71st Avenue near 110th Street at about 11:15 p.m. on July 19 when Jordan drove up and got into a heated argument with him. According to prosecutors, Jordan then allegedly put his Dodge Magnum in reverse, backed up, put it into drive, accelerated and then intentionally hit Aranbayev with his vehicle before speeding away.

Aranbayev was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries the following day, authorities said.

Jordan’s arrest follows the release of video footage a week ago of his car from the night of the incident.

According to the New York Post, there was a $50,000 reward fund to help locate the driver who hit Aranbayev.

Aranbayev, a married father of four who was also known as “Eric,” was a jeweler at his family-owned store Rafaello & Co. in Manhattan’s Diamond District, reports said. His celebrity clients included Floyd Mayweather, Sean Combs, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Brown.

Mayweather had donated $10,000 to the reward fund, with the additional $25,000 coming from Aranbayev’s family and $15,000 from an anonymous donor.

Jordan, who faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted, has been suspended without pay from the MTA following the arrest, a spokesman for the agency said. Jordan has worked for the MTA since 2000, when he was hired as a conductor. In 2006, he was promoted to a train operator.

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