A 75-year-old Asian man from Bayside is undergoing psychiatric evaluation after he threatened to douse himself with gasoline and light himself on fire in a Flushing park, police said.
The NYPD could not disclose the man’s name because of current medical testing, but said he took over a wooden tool shed in Kissena Park on Colden Street and Geranium Avenue on Tuesday, September 25 at around 12:21 p.m. and made threats to set himself ablaze.
The man had refused to eat for four days in protest, a police source said, although it was not clear what he was demonstrating. He had racked up a laundry list of complaints against him in the past, police said.
A nearby public school, The East-West School of International Studies, had to be locked down, a police source said, while the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team and officers of the 109th Precinct moved in on the scene. The city’s Department of Education did not comment.
The man voluntarily surrendered to authorities and was taken, with no injuries, to Queens General Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, authorities said.
A Parks Department spokesperson said the man is a member of the Korean American Senior Citizens Society (KASCS). Members, the spokesperson said, are allowed to garden for free on “GreenThumb” public, city-owned community parklands like the Kissena Corridor Community Garden, now known as Evergreen Community Garden, in Kissena Park.
Sources on scene said the man’s distress stemmed from issues he had with the Parks land, but that could not be confirmed. The Parks spokesperson said the agency had not removed the man’s gardening privileges.