A Brooklyn man was taken into custody by the NYPD Thursday and is facing hate crime charges for the vicious attack on an elderly Sikh man in South Richmond Hill on Sunday, April 3.
Vernon Douglas, 19, was taken into custody at his Watkins Street home in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and was charged in the unprovoked assault of Nirmal Singh, 70, who was sucker-punched from behind, according to the NYPD.
The assault occurred on 95th Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill just before 7 a.m. Singh, who was wearing traditional Sikh articles of faith, was walking to the Sikh Cultural Society Temple when he was assaulted.
He was found roaming around the Gurdwara with blood on his face and jacket. Singh was transported by private means to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where he was treated for a fractured nose, a swollen black eye and an injured wrist.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force investigated the attack which outraged the community. Singh was visiting New York for the first time on a tourist visa from Canada and was afraid to report the incident to the police fearing that he would be deported. According to community leaders, he has returned to India after his family members were concerned for his safety.
Douglas was charged with hate crime assaults, aggravated harassment and robbery charges, according to the NYPD.
A similar attack on two Sikh men happened over a week later when they were attacked and robbed while on an early morning walk in South Richmond Hill.