Supreme Gooding, 18, and Robert Whack, 30, were arraigned Monday before Queens Supreme Court Justice David Kirschner on the same 17-count indictments charging them with attempted murder, assault, grand larceny, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property.
The defendants allegedly attacked two elderly women on two separate occasions in March and took their pocketbooks. Gooding and Whack are also accused of stabbing Louie Suljovic, 38, a military veteran and owner of Louie’s Pizzeria on Baxter Avenue, and his 68-year-old father, Charlie, who intervened when they saw the men attack one of the female victims in front of the shop.
According to the charges, at around 5:35 p.m.on March 16, a 75-year-old woman was entering her apartment building on 64th Street when she felt her purse and cane being pulled out of her hands. The defendants were allegedly seen on video surveillance running down the block in possession of the victim’s purse immediately after the robbery.
The two struck again around 8:45 p.m. on March 26, when 61-year-old Eun Hee Chang was walking on Baxter Avenue and Judge Street in Elmhurst, when Whack allegedly grabbed her purse, according to the charges. The victim struggled to regain her property from Whack and Gooding. Bystanders who witnessed the attack began yelling for help.
Katz said the Suljovics heard the bystanders and jumped into action running from the Baxter Avenue pizzeria to the corner to assist the woman. Whack and Gooding, who were in possession of the victim’s purse, attacked the men, ultimately stabbing the father multiple times and the younger man once. Whack and Gooding ran off.
The three victims were taken across the street to Elmhurst Hospital Center. As a result of the attack, the 68-year-old victim sustained nine stab wounds to his chest and back and suffered from a collapsed lung. His son also sustained a collapsed lung and a stab wound to his back, as well as other injuries. The 61-year-old woman sustained a single stab wound to her back.
Katz said the defendants were apprehended a short distance away, shortly after they fled the crime scene. Police from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst allegedly recovered a knife from Whack’s jacket pocket that appeared to have blood on it, along with 39 glassine envelopes of heroin.
Whack, of St. John’s Place in Brooklyn, is additionally charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Gooding lives on West 41st Street in Manhattan.
“As alleged, the defendants targeted two women to steal their handbags and stabbed two good Samaritans who selflessly intervened during one of the incidents,” Katz said. “Thankfully, no lives were lost, but we will not allow senseless violence to become the norm in our communities. Both defendants now face serious charges for their alleged actions.”
Justice Kirschner ordered Whack to return to court on July 21, and he ordered Gooding to return to court on July 18. If convicted, both Whack and Gooding face up to 25 years in prison.