Briarwood man indicted for murder of Forest Hills food delivery worker Zhiwen Yan: DA

Forest Hills murder of Zhiwen Yan by Briarwood man
Glenn Hirsch has been charged with murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the April 30 death of 45-year-old Zhiwen Yan. (Photo by Dean Moses)

Briarwood resident Glenn Hirsch was indicted by a Queens grand jury on murder, stalking and other charges in the death of 45-year-old Chinese restaurant delivery worker Zhiwen Yan, who was gunned down on his scooter just moments after dropping off an order in Forest Hills on April 30, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Hirsch, 51, of 141st Street, was arraigned Thursday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder on a 10-count indictment charging him with murder in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, criminal mischief, menacing and stalking.

According to the charges, at around 9:30 on the night of Nov. 30, 2021, Hirsch placed an order for Chinese food at the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant on Queens Boulevard. Hirsch asked for extra duck sauce packets, which he was given. The defendant became irate, nonetheless, and argued with workers at the eatery. Hirsch then insisted he get a refund because he wanted to return the food, but the worker refused to take the order back and Hirsch then called the police.

Yan food delivery shot Forest Hills murder
Zhiwen Yan, 45, was shot in the chest and killed while delivering food on his scooter at the corner of 108th Street and 67th Drive in Forest Hills on Saturday, April 30. (Photo via GoFundMe)

A short time later, according to Katz, the police arrived at the restaurant and the worker explained that due to COVID, the restaurant could not accept food back. The defendant stormed out of the restaurant and in the months that followed, Hirsch allegedly routinely threatened and harassed the restaurant’s personnel.

According to the charges, on Dec. 16, 2021, the victim, Zhiwen Yan, walked outside the restaurant and saw Hirsch allegedly using a knife to damage a restaurant worker’s car that was parked outside the eatery. Hirsch, who was wearing a black surgical mask, allegedly threatened the workers, including the delivery man, Yan. The defendant allegedly said, “I have a gun” and added, “Be careful, this is the last time I’m going to tell you” and walked to his vehicle.

Three restaurant workers followed and confronted Hirsch. One of them pulled down the black mask and the others took pictures of Hirsch’s face with their cell phones, as well as the license plate on Hirsch’s gray Lexus SUV.

A mural outside Great Wall Chinese Food in Forest Hills commemorates delivery worker Zhiwen Yan on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

According to the charges, on Jan. 28, following a snowfall, one of the workers was outside shoveling snow just before 10 p.m. when the defendant showed up and approached. Hirsch allegedly pointed a black firearm at the man and threatened him, saying, “How’s your car? Remember me? I will kill your entire family.” The worker rushed back inside the restaurant to call the police. When he went back outside, the defendant was gone but the tires on a worker’s car were slashed.

On April 30, according to the charges, Hirsch was observed on surveillance video allegedly driving by the Great Wall restaurant after dropping his wife at work. Between approximately 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Hirsch passed by the Queens Boulevard restaurant seven times. Just before 9:30 p.m., Mr. Yan left the restaurant on his scooter to make a delivery. The defendant allegedly driving in the vicinity managed to get behind the scooter and followed him to an address on 108th Street.

Katz said Yan dropped off the food order and returned to the scooter and rode away. He then stopped at a red light at 67th Drive and 108th Street. At that point, the defendant approached the victim on foot. Yan recognized Hirsch and started to back away on the scooter. But at that moment, the defendant allegedly fired a single shot. The bullet ripped into Yan’s chest; he fell to the ground and died as a result of a single gunshot wound.

Forest Hills murder of Zhiwen Yan by Briarwood man
Photo by Dean Moses

According to the charges, the defendant is allegedly seen running back to his SUV and then driving away from the scene to his wife’s apartment, also in Briarwood. Hirsch parked his car and entered the building. After the indictment, an arrest warrant was issued at the request of the DA’s office, and court-authorized search warrants were executed at the defendant’s wife’s home. Police allegedly recovered eight firearms from a closet, which also contained items belonging to the defendant.

“As alleged, a petty dispute over a takeout order became an obsessive point of contention for the defendant who began to stalk and harass employees at the restaurant for months,” Katz said. “The tragic end result was the murder of a hardworking employee, who left behind a devastated family and a grieving community. Gun violence is never the answer and will not be tolerated in Queens County. Following a thorough investigation by my office and the NYPD, the defendant has been apprehended and will now face justice in our courts.”

Justice Holder ordered the defendant to return to court on June 7. Hirsch faces between 29 ⅔ to 44 years to life in prison if convicted.