A Jamaica man accused of beating up men at a Jamaica mosque in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime is out on supervised release.
Mike Voyard, 26, of Highland Avenue allegedly walked into the Jamaica Muslim Center at 85-37 168th St. during afternoon prayers at 1 p.m. on April 19 and attacked several men. One of the witnesses to the assault caught it on video that was later posted on Facebook (scroll down to see video).
Sources familiar with the incident claim that Voyard allegedly shouted anti-Muslim slurs before going on the attack.
According to the criminal complaint provided by the Queens District Attorney‘s office, Voyard allegedly punched one of the worshippers repeatedly about the face and head, causing swelling and substantial pain.
When another mosque member tried to come to the victim’s aid, the complaint noted, Voyard allegedly punched him about the head, causing bleeding and a laceration to his left ear.
Members of the mosque eventually chased Voyard out of the location; he was subsequently arrested by 103rd Precinct officers who arrived on the scene. According to eyewitness accounts, Voyard had stripped naked in the street at the time of his arrest.
Both victims were removed to local hospitals for treatment of their injuries, including one who suffered a brain hemorrhage and was listed in serious condition.
Voyard, who faces multiple counts of third-degree assault, criminal mischief and harassment, was subsequently released under supervision at his arraignment. According to a Queens DA spokesperson, the supervised release allows defendants such as Voyard “to remain at home with their families and continue working while waiting for trial” while ensuring that “the defendant returns to court without re-offending.”
As the investigation into the rampage continues, numerous Queens elected officials joined members of the Jamaica Muslim Center last Friday for a press conference denouncing the attacks and calling for justice.
“We come together today as one community to support Jamaica Muslim Center and those who were injured,” Councilman Rory Lancman said. “This crime, including the potential bias motive, must be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrator brought to justice. We will not stand for violence in our sanctuaries.”
Mohammad W. Rahman, president of the Jamaica Muslim Center, added that “attacking innocent people is unacceptable,” and that Voyard’s assault should be considered “a hate crime that our Muslim brothers and sisters were attacked by a stranger while praying.”