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Man indicted in murder of homeless acquaintance in Ridgewood: DA

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A man has been indicted by a Queens grand jury for manslaughter in the alleged death of a homeless man in Ridgewood, according to District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Piotr Wilk, a 35-year-old man with no known address, was arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder on an indictment that charged him with manslaughter in the first degree on Thursday, June 10.

Wilk allegedly beat the victim, Lukasz Ruszczyk, who was a houseless community member of Ridgewood, to death on April 29.

According to the charges, Wilk was seen allegedly using his fist and elbow to punch Ruszczyk more than a dozen times on the corner of Putnam and Forest Avenues in Ridgewood around 4:30 p.m.

Ruszczyk, who was 38 years old, was left unconscious during the assault, according to Katz. Shortly before 6 p.m., Wilk was allegedly seen choking Ruszczyk and putting him in a headlock.

Ruszczyk was then taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center several hours later with multiple bruises and bumps, including bleeding on the brain, according to the district attorney. He was diagnosed as clinically brain dead and succumbed to his injuries on May 4, Katz said.

According to a prior police report, Wilk was arrested at the hospital where Ruszczyk was being treated on April 30. The police report also noted both men knew each other and were allegedly intoxicated.

“This was a brutal crime in public view on a Queens street corner,” said Katz, adding that Wilk is currently in custody.

The Queens District Attorney’s office did not comment on the motive behind the fatal assault.

Wilk’s public defender did not respond to requests for additional comment, citing Queens Defenders’ policy to not comment on ongoing litigation.

If convicted, Wilk faces up to 25 years in prison.

Justice Holder remanded the defendant and set his next court date for Sept. 20.

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