Queens Courier Year in Review: The top stories from May 2019

File photo/QNS

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, who served borough for nearly 28 years, dead at 86

Richard A. Brown, who served as the Queens District Attorney for close to 28 years, died the morning of May 4. He was 86.

The cause of death was complications of Parkinson’s disease, according to his son Todd Brown

His office announced in March that he was taking a leave of absence until June 1, when he planned to formally resign from office. He handed over his duties in an interim capacity to Chief Assistant District Attorney John Ryan, his top deputy, who announced Brown’s death. After winning the general election in November, Melinda Katz will take over the position from Ryan on Jan. 1.

Before being appointed DA,  Brown had been in the judiciary for nearly 20 years. Gov. Mario Cuomo tapped Brown to serve as Queens DA in 1991 following the retirement of John Santucci. Brown’s era saw crime across the borough drop from record highs in the early 1990s to record lows toward the end of his tenure.

From the beginning, Ryan said, Brown’s goal “was to elevate the standard of professionalism by hiring on merit, not political connections” and “made it a priority to have the most talented, capable and dedicated professionals imaginable.”


City shuts down Queens school for failing to comply with measles outbreak protection order

The New York City Health Department shut The Yeshiva of Central Queens for its non-compliance with a citywide order aimed at curbing the measles outbreak in the spring, which Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency.

On May 9, the Health Department issued an order to school that mandated the administration exclude any unvaccinated student for 21 days following a known exposure to measles at the school.

After investigating, the agency found that the staff had not abided by the order and ordered it closed until the Health Department found that the school had followed its instructions.

By the afternoon of May 13, the school’s attorney Jonathan Farrell told QNS that it had fully cooperated with a Department of Health audit of its records.

“We are not aware of any yeshiva student being exposed to the measles virus,” the school’s statement noted. It added that the audit was instead triggered by an outside vendor who had been on the premises after being exposed to the virus.


Little Neck home invaders rape woman twice while stealing thousands in cash: NYPD

At about 9:30 p.m. May 4, two men burst into a Little Neck home, robbed and raped a 34-year-old resident at gun-point while they held her family captive.

As the 34-year-old woman was leaving her residence, the two men forced her back in her home and robbed her and her 54-year-old mother. The robbers took $9,800 from the women, and sexually assaulted the younger woman.

According to law enforcement sources, the 34-year-old woman was leaving the residence, according to police sources.


Sting operation helps cops intercept $650,000 marijuana shipment in Flushing, two California men cuffed

Members of the Suffolk County Police Department and the 109th Precinct worked together to run a sting operation that intercepted a 144-pound shipment of marijuana in early May, according to prosecutors.

Two California men — Doobie Kim, 40, and Yeong Woo Choi, 35 — faced a Queens Criminal Court judge on Thursday night for arraignment on charges of operating as a major trafficker, second- and fifth-degree conspiracy, criminal possession of marijuana and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The sting involved an undercover officer posing as a delivery worker bringing the pot to the two suspects to bust the shipment of $650,000 in marijuana in Flushing.

“Trafficking in marijuana is still illegal in New York,” acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said. While New York advocates were pushing for a legalization bill this year, what they got was a reduced the penalty for the possession of small amounts of the drug. California legalized the recreational use of cannabis last year.

More from Around New York