By Patrick Donachie
A Jamaica man was charged with punching a 69-year-old woman outside a Jamaica deli, and community leaders gathered Tuesday at the scene of the crime to encourage community members to tell authorities about violent offenders hiding from police.
“It’s sad that this man had to be safe harbored in our community,” Kevin Livingston, the head of 100 Suits for 100 Men, said during the news conference organized by Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica). “We cannot be comfortable with being comfortable. You have to be p…ed off when these things happen in our community.”
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Springer was awaiting arraignment on assault and harassment charges. On Oct. 16 at around 8 a.m., Springer entered King Deli and Grocery at 107-60 Sutphin Blvd. removed a beer from the cooler, and threw a dollar on the counter, according to a criminal complaint from the district attorney’s office. The complaint stated that Methaq Algabyali, an employee at the store, went to get the bill when Springer came back in the deli and punched him in his face.
Algabyali struggled with Springer, who eventually exited the deli, according to the complaint. Algabyali then saw Springer punch Eve Gentillon in the head. She fell to the ground and lost consciousness, the complaint stated.
Springer was still in the neighborhood where the attack occurred when he was apprehended by the Regional Fugitive Task Force, according to Kristel Johnson, the NYPD Deputy Chief of Queens Borough South.
Gentillon was taken to a local hospital after the attack, according to the complaint. She underwent emergency surgery and a piece of her skull needed to be removed because a cranial subdural hematoma, the complaint stated. Wills said it looked like the recovery time could be extensive.
During the conference, Wills thanked the NYPD for their work in finding the suspect and railed against community members who may have protected him from authorities. He noted 16 days had passed between the attack and the arrest.
“To our community, 16 days is 16 days too many,” he said. “That is sending a message that this is OK time and time again.”
Wills also said if suspects sought by the police were worried about turning themselves into the NYPD safely, they could contact his office to ensure a peaceful apprehension. He expressed thanks that Springer was taken into custody without incident, and praised the new community policing officers in the 103rd Precinct. He expressed hope that their work could build stronger bridges between community and the NYPD.
If convicted, Springer faces up to seven years in prison.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona