By Bill Parry
Three Queens residents have been charged with desecrating Cypress Hills Cemetery in Ridgewood in August, causing more than $100,000 in damage, according to the Queens district attorney.
Bruno Camacho, 21, of Elmhurst; and Mark Barrancos, 21, of Forest Hills; and Edward Evseev, 21, of Richmond Hill, were arrested and arraigned Tuesday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Ushir Pandit-Durant on a criminal complaint charging each of them with burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief as hate crimes, DA Richard Brown said.
If convicted, the men face up to 15 years in prison.
The defendants allegedly knocked over 72 headstones in the cemetery’s Parkside subdivision and another 48 headstones were damaged with paint, which included, “God LOL” and the “N” word, according to the criminal charges. Fifteen vaults inside the Memorial Abbey Mausoleum were found damaged with at least two marble enclosures cracked and more that 10 marble enclosures damaged with paint.
In addition, three stained glass windows were broken, three statues were knocked over and broken, and at least two bases for these statues were also knocked over and broken. On the Gee Poy Kup Association’s monument and the Sze Kong Mutual Benevolent Association’s arch were spray painted the words “Ching Chong.” On an Asian headstone, “F— Jackie Chan was spray painted and there appeared to be human feces on it, according to the criminal complaint. The damage was done around 6 p.m. Aug. 14 and 6:15 a.m. the following day, according to the criminal report.
The three men were caught on surveillance cameras damaging the cemetery along Jamaica Avenue. It is the same cemetery where slain NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu was interred after he and his partner, Officer Rafael Ramos, were ambushed and killed in their patrol car in December 2014.
“Even in their eternal rest the dead of Queens County cannot escape from the bigotry and hatred that brews in some people’s hearts,” Brown said. “Fortunately, working jointly with our police partners — The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force — we were able to bring to justice those accused of this heinous desecration. In Queens County, the most culturally diverse county in the nation, crimes of hate will never be tolerated and we will do all in our power to root out those responsible for such hate and prejudice.”
Pandit-Durant set bail at $100,000 bond/$70,000 cash and ordered the defendants to return to court Nov. 15.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr