Former Student Charged for Bomb Threat at St. Francis Prep

By Alicia Venter

[email protected]

A 16-year-old former student has been charged with making a terroristic threat to bomb St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows.

The arrest came on Oct. 12, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced the following day.  

The defendant, not named by the DA’s Office, has been charged with making a terroristic threat, reckless endangerment and other crimes. Katz did share that the defendant is from Oakland Gardens. Furthermore, records from 

St. Francis Preparatory School showed that the defendant had been expelled from the school in February 2022 for disciplinary reasons, the DA’s Office stated.

The defendant allegedly attempted to orchestrate a phoned bomb threat at St. Francis Preparatory School on April 25, 2022.

According to the charges, at approximately 9:00 a.m., a phone call was made to the NYPD Highway Patrol Unit 3 by a male individual using the name “Jake.” 

On this call, “Jake” allegedly stated that he was a ninth grader at the school, and that he placed four pipe bombs inside the school. 

The defendant allegedly went to the extent of naming said locations of these placed bombs — two inside a locker on the first floor of the school, one inside a male bathroom and one inside a female bathroom.

The school immediately evacuated its approximately 2,000 students, while police searched the premises. No bombs or otherwise harmful devices were found. 

The NYPD Intelligence Bureau, in partnership with the DA’s Major Economics Crime Bureau, launched an investigation that led to the discovery of a conversation on “Discord,” an online social media platform, that revealed a conversation between the defendant another Discord user known to law enforcement about making a false threat to St. Francis Preparatory School in exchange for $80 as payment for the services.

In this conversation, the Discord user — who was later identified as a Polish national — asked the defendant if they would like a bomb squad called; in response, the defendant responded, “Just a normal SWAT… as long as the school gets evacuated.” 

Law enforcement officials were able to trace cryptocurrency that was used as payment to the Discord user in Poland; police law enforcement authorities have been notified of the incident. 

Officials were also able to link the username of the defendant to an I.P. address registered to an internet service provider at the home address of the defendant, as the owner was listed as the defendant’s mother.

“Bomb threats are never amusing, and they are never harmless. My Officewill use all tools at our disposal to find individuals who think they can commit crimes safely behind their computer screen and bring them to justice,” Katz said. “As alleged, the defendant went to great lengths to orchestrate an elaborate and realistic threat against his former high school, placing thousands of students and their families in fear for their lives. This behavior will not stand, and the defendant has now been charged accordingly. I thank our partners at the NYPD for their dedication in holding alleged perpetrators accountable.”

Ozone Park RBA calls for change after 4 shot in London Planetree Park

By Alicia Venter 

[email protected]

Four men were shot near London Planetree Park on Tuesday, Sept. 27. The park is located between 88 and 89th Streets on Atlantic Avenue. 

The Ozone Park Resident Block Association has issued a statement regarding the shooting, calling the catastrophe “a day of horror that many of these kids will never shake from their memories.”

“We are fed up with the current state of affairs in our community,” the statement read. “Anything goes, and it seems to be getting worse over time. This park was the scene of a very chaotic shooting where families, women, children, and teenagers were running for their lives. What was once a tranquil neighborhood has now become the OK Corral.”

The association wants money allocated by elected officials for at least two NYPD ARGUS CCTV camera surveillance systems to be fitted in each park.

These cameras would help deter crime and allow the NYPD to identify perpetrators of any crime.

They also request a round table discussion with elected officials to revisit their budgets and discuss other issues in the community. 

The Ozone Park Resident Block Association uses their Facebook to update the community hourly on what is happening in the community. For more information about what is happening in the community, visit www.facebook.com/groups/ozoneparkvoice.

Two shot near Astoria Blvd. N and 35th St.

A shooting in the vicinity of Astoria Boulevard North and 35th Street left a 24-year-old male in critical condition and a 36- led to two people being transported to Elmhurst Hospital. The shooting was in the early hours on Saturday, July 30. According to a DCPI spokesperson, no arrests have been made for the shooting, and the investigation remains ongoing.

The shooting was within the confines of the 114th Precinct. At approximately 3:52 a.m., the police responded to a 911 call regarding a person shot. Upon arrival, the officers observed a 24-year-old man with multiple gunshot wounds to the body, and a 36-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to her abdomen. EMS transported both victims to Elmhurst Hospital, according to the spokesperson, where the male victim is in critical condition and the female victim is in stable condition.

According to sources with AMNY, it was three masked perpetrators that opened fire on the victims. After shooting numerous shots upon them, the gunman fled the scene inside a grey minivan, heading westbound along Astoria Boulevard North. 

No information has been released regarding potential suspects or with images of the perpetrators of this shooting.

 

Queens man convicted over death of NYPD Detective

Sentenced to 30 years to life in jail for 2019 botched robbery

New York City Police Department Detective Brian Simonsen’s killer was sentenced to 30 years to life on Thursday, July 7, three years after a shootout took place during a robbery at a T-Mobile phone store in Richmond Hill that took his life.

According to court records, the incident occured on Feb. 12, 2019, when two men entered the store on 120th Street brandishing a pistol. Police officers arrived on the scene after the two men ordered the two employees inside the establishment to surrender cash and merchandise from the back room of the shop.

One of the suspects was still inside when they arrived and pointed his gun, which appeared to be real, at the officers who discharged their weapons in response. Simonsen, 42, was fatally shot in the chest, while a second officer, Sgt. Matthew Gorman was seriously injured with a bullet wound to his leg.

Three years after the incident, Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder found the suspect Jagger Freeman, 28, of Jamaica, guilty for second degree murder, multiple counts of robbery, grand larceny, and assault.

“The jury found the defendant guilty of murder and he will now serve a lengthytime in prison as punishment for his criminal actions,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a press release on July 7. “We continue to express our condolences to Detective Simonsen’s family and fellow service members.”

The sentencing, which includes the conviction of a previous robbery Freeman participated in at a separate cell phone store, comes after the conviction of Freeman’s co-defendant Christopher Ransom, 30, in October 2021. He is currently serving 33 years in prison, to be followed by five years’ post release supervision.

Suspect charged for killing Zhiwen Yan

Glen Hirsch, 51, of Briarwood has been indicted by a grand jury on charges related to the death of Zhiwen Yan, a 45-year-old Chinese food restaurant delivery worker from Middle Village, who was gunned down on his scooter back in April, just moments after dropping off an order in Forest Hills.

Zhiwen Yan and his wife on their wedding day.

According to investigators, on April 30, the suspect was observed on multiple surveillance cameras driving by the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant on Queens Boulevard.

Allegedly he had passed by the restaurant seven times, just before 9:30 p.m., when the victim, Yan, was said to have left the restaurant to deliver an order. He then managed to get behind the scooter and followed him to the address at 108th Street in Forest Hills.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said that Yan then dropped off the food order, returned to the scooter, and rode away. It was when he stopped at a red light, at the corner of 67th Drive and 108th Street, when Hirsch allegedly approached the victim on foot.

Having recognized Hirsch, Yan started to back away on the scooter. At that moment, the suspect allegedly fired a single shot, striking the delivery worker in the chest causing him to fall off his scooter. EMS quickly responded and transported Yan to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst where he was pronounced dead. The suspect and his Lexus RX3 SUV were also seen racing away from the scene.

“As alleged, a petty dispute over a take-out order became an obsessive point of contention for the defendant who began to stalk and harass employees at the restaurant for months,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement following the indictment. “The tragic end result was the murder of a hard-working 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.”

Hirsch already had a history of causing issues with employees at the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant going back to Nov. 30, 2021, when the suspect allegedly placed an order that evening asking for extra packets of duck sauce, which he was provided. Nevertheless, he became irate and insisted that the restaurant refund his money because he wanted to return the food. But when the worker refused to take it back, Hirsch called the police.

When police arrived, the employee explained that due to COVID-19 protocols, they could not accept the order back. Hirsch then stormed out of the restaurant. Over the months that followed, he allegedly threatened and harassed several Great Wall employees, including the owner, Kai Yang.

The allegations further indicated that on Dec. 16, 2021, the victim, Zhiwen Yan, saw the defendant using a knife to damage a worker’s car that was parked outside. Hirsch allegedly threatened him, saying “I have a gun,” and “be careful, this is the last time I’m going to tell you.”

But as Hirsch left towards his vehicle, three restaurant workers followed and confronted him. One of them pulled down his mask while the others took pictures of his face and the license plate of his gray Lexus SUV with their cellphones.

The charges state that Hirsch then returned to the restaurant again on Jan. 28, this time brandishing a firearm and talking to one of the workers who was outside shoveling snow. He reportedly said, “How’s your car? Remember me? I will kill your entire family.” The employee quickly rushed back inside to call the police. When he returned outside, the suspect was gone but the tires on his car were slashed.

Hirsch was arrested on June 1, following the issuance of a warrant. A subsequent court-authorized search warrant was later executed at his wife’s home, where police say they recovered eight firearms from inside a closet believed to contain items belonging to the suspect.

He was arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth C. Holder on a 10-count indictment and is being charged with second degree murder, possession of a weapon, criminal mischief, menacing, and stalking.

If convicted on all charges, Hirsch faces between 29 and 44 years-to-life in prison.

Two women shot in Ridgewood

Neighborly checkup on domestic dispute turns deadly

A 51-year-old woman is dead and a 48-year-old woman is in critical condition following a domestic dispute that has police on the look out for a 55-year-old male named Pedro Cintron who fled the scene in Ridgewood early Monday morning.

Officers from the 104th precinct responded to 66-17 Fresh Pond Road at approximately 8:15 a.m. on Monday morning, where they found the 51-year-old victim, later identified as Migdalia Ortega, shot in the head, and a 48-year-old woman with two shots in her torso.

Police say a domestic incident between the 51-year-old woman and Cintron in their third floor apartment led to the 48-year-old woman, who lives on the second floor, to check on her upstairs neighbors.

The 48-year-old woman was then shot and as she fled to her apartment, Cintron followed her and continued shooting, according to NYPD Deputy Chief Julie Morrill. Police added that there had been no prior history of domestic violence between the two.

Cintron fled the scene, and there are no arrests as of press time.

During a press conference with law enforcement, it was revealed that the deceased victim was a civilian member of the NYPD with 11 years of service in the information technology bureau.

Assistant Chief Galen Frierson added, “There’s no words to describe exactly how we feel. We feel deeply for the family and we’re here to support them in anything they need.”

Hardworking food delivery worker fatally shot

The Forest Hills community mourns the loss of Zhiwen Yan, a food delivery worker at Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, who is remembered by locals for his warm greetings of “Hello, my friend.”

Yan, who lived in Middle Village, was fatally shot on April 30 around 9:30 p.m. while riding his scooter on his way to deliver food at the intersection of 108th St. and 67th Dr. in Forest Hills.

The husband and father of three endured a gunshot wound to the chest which caused him to fall off his scooter.

EMS responded and transported Yan to NYC Health and Hospitals/Elmhurst where he was pronounced dead.

It is uncertain why he was not brought to Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, which is only three blocks away from where he was killed.

At the time of publication, no arrests were made in this case and the investigation remains ongoing.

Zhiwen Yan and his wife on their wedding day.

Police say the current suspect is a 50-year-old customer who previously had issues with the restaurant staff because they once did not give him enough duck sauce.

He allegedly menaced Kai Yang, the restaurant’s owner, with a gun and vandalized his vehicle.

CBS New York reports that Yang gave the description of the customer’s car, a Lexus RX3 SUV, which matches the description of a car seen fleeing the murder scene.

Concerns in Forest Hills continue to rise as this is the second fatal crime to a neighbor that residents have seen in the community in recent weeks, following the murder of Orsolya Gaal.

Local elected officials and residents gathered with Yan’s family outside of their Middle Village home to mourn the community’s loss.

“This is a terrible and horrific tragedy and my heart aches for the victim’s loved ones. This delivery worker was working hard, trying to earn a living to support his family when he was senselessly shot and killed,” Congresswoman Grace Meng said in a statement.

“The incident underscores the need to combat gun violence throughout our city, and I am confident that the perpetrator will be apprehended.

The person responsible must face justice,” she continued. “My office will remain in touch with the 112th Precinct, and I will continue to be there for the family to provide any assistance they need.”

Two GoFundMe fundraisers have been widely shared in support of Yan’s wife and three children — one by a local resident named Frances

Kweller, and another by his wife, Eva Chao. To date, the two digital fundraisers raised a total of over $260,000.
No arrests have been made in this case, and the investigation remains ongoing.

Dual shootings outside Pomonok Houses

Two separate shooting incidents took place on Sunday night outside of the Pomonok Houses near Queens College, according to multiple reports on the Citizen app.

The first, reported at approximately 5:11 p.m., confirmed that police responded to reports of a man who had been shot in the abdomen.

A second report, made at approximately 11:55 p.m., confirmed that police transported an unidentified 26-year-old victim to a local hospital.

According to NY1, Queens College temporarily shut its doors on Monday morning in response to the nearby shootings.

Local City Councilman Jame Gennaro, whose district includes Pomonok, Kew Gardens Hills, Briarwood, Jamaica, and Fresh Meadows, issued a statement in response to the dual shooting incidents, which occurred just a few short hours apart.

“I have been in continuous contact with Commanding Officer Kevin Chan of the 107th Precinct and the Mayor’s Office well into the early hours of the morning and throughout the day today,” Gennaro said in his statement. “Both shooting victims are in the hospital. As we wait for additional details to emerge, I want my constituents to know that I and my office take this deadly violence at our doorstep with utmost seriousness and we need to act.”

Gennaro continued by addressing how he is doing everything in his power to make sure the community is safer.

“In both last year’s budget and this year’s budget, which will be passed in June, I have allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars of my discretionary funding for police surveillance cameras in crime hot spots in our community, as determined by the NYPD in consultation with me and community leaders,” Gennaro continued. “Additionally, our office is currently working to coordinate a town hall with the Police Department and our community to discuss public safety concerns and brainstorm ideas to boost safety in the district. In the meantime, I urge all my constituents to stay vigilant and continue to report any suspicious and/or illegal activity to 911 if the police are needed immediately, and if anyone has any information about yesterday’s shootings that may help the police, the Commanding Officer of the 107th Precinct has asked that witnesses call the precinct at 718-969-5100. I will keep the community apprised of any further developments in this case.”

Fatal shooting at Parsons Blvd/Archer Ave subway station

A 24-year-old Brooklyn man was fatally shot in the chest inside the Parsons Boulevard/Archer Avenue subway station on Monday afternoon.

Police say that at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, a verbal dispute quickly turned physical, eventually leading to five shots being fired inside the subway station.

NYPD Transit Chief Jason Wilcox said that the victim, Marcus Bethea, was standing near the token booth when the suspect initially approached him. When police arrived, first aid was rendered and Bethea was transferred to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“During the course of that fight, the suspect pulled out a firearm and fired several rounds that hit the victim in his torso,” Wilcox said during a Monday night briefing on the incident.

Camera footage was captured inside the subway station, police say, and it is currently under review by the department.

There is no arrest as of press time. Police urge anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-7577 (TIPS).

Officer-Involved Shooting in Astoria

A domestic dispute led to police shooting a 27-year-old Astoria man who was reportedly wielding a machete.

Officers from the 114th precinct responded to a 911 call at 9:48 a.m. at 31-63 33rd Street on the report of an emotionally-disturbed person armed with a weapon.

The 911 caller, later identified as Brianna Cortez, relayed to officers that the man had taken “a lot of pills” and was saying that he “wanted to die.”

Police say that the 27-year-old suspect, Eduardo Andrade, confronted officers in the apartment hallway while holding the 911 caller’s mother. Together, Cortez and Andrade have a three-year-old child, who reportedly witnessed the scene.

Chief of Department Kenneth Corey briefed the media later Monday morning, where he described the confrontation officers had with the suspect and preliminary information about the case.

“After getting the mother out of the apartment, the officers deployed a taser,” Corey said. “The taser had no effect.”

That’s when, police say, one officer discharged “approximately three rounds,” striking the man in his groin.

The 27-year-old suspect was transported to Elmhurst Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and is expected to recover.

Two of the four responding officers underwent medical evaluations, but did not sustain any serious injuries.

Corey went on to say that there is a “rather extensive domestic history” between Cortez and Andrade, which includes multiple allegations of domestic assault, harassment and violations of protection orders.

In a video circulating on social media, Cortez is at the scene yelling that she called the police over an argument.

“They didn’t ask questions,” Cortez can be heard saying. “They dragged my 53-year-old mother to the floor, ripped her shirt off, and then shot my son’s father twice in front of him.”

She continued, “This is why you don’t call the NYPD for help. They will shoot you and blame your family.”

Police relayed that the responding officers had body cameras on their person and they were activated at the scene. Those videos are currently being reviewed by the police department.

Video:
https://twitter.com/SamiLiebman/status/1513552253910765572?s=20&t=R3Rf4w7k7KHIlxqBwDUqXA

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