Suraj Poonai Ray Lazier Lengend, 45, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted arson as a hate crime last month. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison to be followed by five years’ post-release supervision.
According to District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Lengend admitted that he planned the attacks to inflict as much damage as possible. He stated that his goal was to take out as many Muslims and Arabs as possible and that he disliked Muslims, Arabs and Hindus.
On Jan. 1, 2012, Lengend started his hateful rampage by throwing a Molotov cocktail at a Hindu house of worship within a private residence on 170th Street in Jamaica, causing a fire on the front lawn. He later threw gasoline-filled bottles into a private residence on 43rd Avenue, which had people inside.
Lengend then drove to a deli located at 179th Street and Hillside Avenue. He ignited a glass bottle containing gasoline and threw it inside the store. The Molotov cocktail broke when it hit the floor, spreading fire into the building.
According to court records, Lengend then drove to a house on 107th Avenue and threw yet another flammable device through the front bedroom window, starting a fire that caused damage to the interior and exterior of the home.
Finally, Lengend threw a Molotov cocktail that the exterior of Al-Khoei Benevolent Association, a mosque located at 89-89 Van Wyck Expwy. The resulting fire caused damage to the mosque’s exterior.
Brown said, “Hate crimes and arson are a volatile mix meant to inflict suffering and intimidation on its victims. In this case, the targets of the defendant’s hate-filled arson attack ranged from private dwellings to houses of worship and endangered the lives of those within the buildings as well as the firefighters called to respond to the scene. As such the sentence imposed by the court is more than warranted.”