Tag Archives: queens village

NYPD cop accused of choking child’s mother


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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An NYPD officer was arrested on Sunday for choking the mother of his 10-month-old girl in front of the child in Queens Village, according to police and court records.

Jerry Sukhnandan, 33, was arraigned on Nov. 2 and charged with criminal obstruction of breathing, harassment and endangering the welfare of the child, the criminal complaint said.

He is accused of placing his hands around the woman’s neck and preventing her from breathing while the two were in front of 220-14 97th Ave. sometime between the night of Oct. 25 and the following morning.

Sukhnandan, who was off duty at the time, tried to hurt the woman in front of their baby, according to the complaint.

It was not immediately clear what led to the incident or what the status of Sukhnandan’s relationship with the woman was at the time, although the two do share the same last name.

Following his arraignment, Sukhnandan was released on his own recognizance.

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Suspect wanted in connection to 21 Queens, Bronx commercial break-ins


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted in connection with a string of citywide commercial burglaries.

In a total of 21 incidents, starting in June in Rosedale and most recently occurring on Oct. 20 in the Bronx, at least one suspect broke into commercial establishments via the roof, side or rear doors, or ventilation ducts while the business were closed, according authorities. Money from the cash register and broken-into ATMs, as well as miscellaneous items, such as cigarettes, were taken during the thefts.

In Queens, the burglaries have occurred in Laurelton, Broad Channel, Jamaica, Astoria, Queens Village, Bayside, Hollis, Glen Oaks, College Point, Richmond Hill and Flushing. The other break-ins all happened in the Bronx.

The NYPD has released surveillance photos of the male suspect wanted in an incident on Sept. 12 in Richmond Hill. During this burglary, at about 8 p.m. the suspect entered 88-24 Van Wyck Expressway via the roof, damaged the security system but did not remove any property, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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66-year-old woman stabbed to death in Queens Village home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Police are investigating the death of a 66-year-old woman who was found stabbed several times in her Queens Village home early Friday morning.

Officers discovered the victim, Rose Ragsdale, inside her 105th Avenue residence at about 3:20 a.m. with stab wounds to her chest and arm, authorities said.

Ragsdale was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

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Queens Village man arrested for pot, gun stash after leaving son home alone: cops


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

A 30-year-old Queens Village man was arrested on drug and gun possession charges after he left his 8-year-old son sleeping alone at their home, police said.

Nuquan Stewart was busted on Oct. 14, at 10:45 p.m. after police officers saw that the Volkswagen he was driving had a broken brake light, according to authorities. When they approached Stewart about it, they allegedly noticed a strong odor of marijuana.

The cops asked Stewart to step out of the vehicle. They then spotted six plastic bags of the drug sticking out of the open front pocket of his hooded sweatshirt and a gravity knife jutting from a upholder in the vehicle’s center console, police said. When the cops handcuffed him, Stewart told them about his son, who he had left alone at home while he ran his errands.

At Stewart’s request, the cops went to his 222nd Street apartment to check on the young boy. When they reached it, they allegedly smelled pot. They entered the residence with the keys Stewart had given them and found the boy safely asleep in his bedroom. They also found numerous bags of marijuana and large stacks of money.

The cops handed the child over to the city’s Administration for Children’s Services who then transferred his care to another family member.

The next day, the police executed a search warrant at the apartment and seized several items including 30 pounds of marijuana, approximately $17,500 in cash, a .40-cal Smith & Wesson semiautomatic firearm loaded with 11 rounds, and a fully-automatic Ruger AR-15 assault rifle, along with two high-capacity magazines loaded with 20 live rounds, according to authorities.

Stewart is currently being held in Rikers Island as he awaits a court date to face charges of criminal possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a machine gun, criminal possession of a loaded firearm, and failure to exercise control of a minor, police said. He has previously been arrested for the sale and possession of marijuana and crack cocaine, burglary, criminal mischief and resisting arrest.

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Queens Village shopping mall selling for nearly $11M  


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Massey Knakal 

The Village Plaza Shopping Center is selling for $10.9 million, according to Massey Knakal Realty Services, which is marketing the sale.

The center, located at 218-24 Hempstead Ave. in Queens Village not far from Belmont Park, was built in 2006 and is owned by Village Plaza LLC, according to city records.

It has nearly 39,000 square feet in six attached two-story buildings. The plaza also has 26 retail and office units and is currently 75 percent filled with tenants such as a 99-cents store and a Little Caesars pizza chain shop.

There are 25 parking spaces directly in front of the shopping center as well.

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24-year-old motorcyclist dies in Belt Parkway crash


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

POLICE TAPE

A Queens Village man was killed Wednesday in a motorcycle collision on the Belt Parkway, cops said.

Officers discovered 24-year-old Julian Smith lying on the ground in the center lane of the Belt Parkway near the Van Wyck Expressway at about 3:50 a.m., according to police.

He was found unconscious and unresponsive next to his bike, and was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

The investigation is still ongoing.

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FBI, NYPD seek ‘violent’ Queens bank robber  


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of FBI

Authorities are looking for a suspect they are calling armed and dangerous after he threatened to shoot a bank teller during a robbery.

The man is wanted for holding up a Capital One Bank at 216-19 Jamaica Ave. on Friday, according to the FBI.

After entering the Queens Village branch, the suspect passed a demand note, threatened to shoot the teller and displayed a black handgun in his waistband, officials said. He then received an undisclosed amount of money and fled on foot westbound on Jamaica Avenue.

The FBI describes the suspect as a black man in his late 40s to early 50s, with an average height and medium build. He was last seen wearing a black Kangol hat, dark glasses, a blue and white striped short-sleeved button-down shirt and black pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 212-384-1000. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

 

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Longtime Jamaica community garden volunteer sees role trimmed back


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Benjamin Fang

BY BENJAMIN FANG

Alberta Crowley was a star in her community, but now she says the city’s Parks Department is trying to restrict her glowing service.

The 71-year-old Queens Village resident has been volunteering at the Bricktown Community Garden on 106th Avenue and 173rd Street in Jamaica for six years. But she claims park officials have restricted her activity to a space next to the garden, called Tree of Life.

“The area here is unleveled, unsafe,” Crowley said. “They locked me out of the garden.” She said workers from the City Parks Foundation (CPF), a nonprofit that works with the Parks Department, took over about a year ago.

In the past, Crowley worked with disabled children and seniors, helping them grow fig trees, cherry trees, blueberries and grapevines. Now she said she’s not allowed to continue because she’s not certified.

“They said I can’t work here with special needs people,” Crowley said. She pointed out that she was previously given permission as a member of GreenThumb, a city community gardening education program funded by the Parks Department.

The Parks Department responded in an email that Crowley was allowed to temporarily use a portion of the City Park Foundation’s original garden, called the Learning Garden, for her workshops with adults with disabilities.

“In order to accommodate the growing demand for CPF’s educational programs, this section of CPF’s garden has been reintegrated with the rest of their garden,” a Parks Department spokesman said. “Ms. Crowley continues to be welcome to help with these workshops.”
Vanessa Smith, who advocates on Crowley’s behalf, said officials from the Parks Department want to close her off.

“They said she wasn’t allowed to go in there because she’s a volunteer and they are paid,” Smith said. “She’s doing this out of love, so why would you lock her out?”

In addition, Smith said officials from the Parks Department are not providing the support Crowley needs to maintain the smaller area she was relegated to.

“They’re not giving her the funding to upgrade it here,” Smith said. “What I think they’re trying to do is eventually take over the whole area.”

Park officials say they are providing the equipment necessary for improvements. “GreenThumb is currently purchasing lumber and soil to allow raised planting beds to be constructed,” a Parks Department spokesman said. Thirty pieces of lumber currently rest inside the Tree of Life garden.

Despite the dispute over certification and land usage, Crowley said she wants to continue what she’s been doing in the last six years.

“I want access to the area and raised beds for seniors,” she said. She hopes to continue working with people with disabilities and seniors who need wheelchair accessibility into the garden.

Crowley and Parks Department representatives are slated to meet in August, where they will discuss use of the space and possibly building a direct entrance to Tree of Life.

The City Parks Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.

 

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Woman killed in Queens Village motorcycle crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A 31-year-old woman was killed Sunday night after she was struck by a car while riding her motorcycle in Queens Village, police said.

The victim, who has yet to be identified by police, was traveling eastbound on Jamaica Avenue around 10:20 p.m. when the accident occurred, according to officials.

A Nissan Maxima driving westbound on Jamaica Avenue struck the motorcyclist as the car was attempting to make a left onto Springfield Boulevard, cops said.

The motorcyclist was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

The 22-year-old driver, who was not injured in the crash, remained on the scene of the accident and investigation is ongoing, police said.

 

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Sen. Avella questions security at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

By Janae Hunter


After a second patient escaped Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in a six-month period, state Sen. Tony Avella will demand answers about security at the Queens Village facility in a press conference on Thursday.

The NYPD said Tuesday that Clifford Brown climbed over a chain-link fence at the center, located at 79-25 Winchester Blvd., and fled. Brown, 27, who was brought to Creedmoor from Riker’s Island for a psychiatric evaluation, escaped at approximately 2 p.m. during recreational time. Brown was found on Wednesday in good health, police said.

The Courier reported that Raymond Morillo, 33, escaped from Creedmoor on January 28 by swapping clothes with a visitor. Morillo was convicted of manslaughter in 1999 and was transferred to Creedmoor in December of 2013. Morillo was found two days later in Memphis, Tennessee and brought back to New York.

Avella and residents are concerned about Creedmoor’s security practices. Following, the first incident, Avella requested that the Office of Mental Health (OMH) investigate the events leading up to Morillo’s escape. In March, the OMH launched a full investigation of security policies not only in Creedmoor, but in all psychiatric centers throughout New York.

The press conference is at 10:15 a.m. in front of the facility.
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Queens mother-daughter TSA officers help keep passengers safe


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Lois Haynes

Working under the same roof as Mom could make some sons and daughters anxious, but it makes Monique Smith proud.

The 29-year-old Jamaica resident shares the same job, as a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at LaGuardia Airport, with her mother, Lois Haynes.

“I have been at TSA a little longer than my mom, but she has introduced me to a lot of people at the airport,” Smith said. “Plus, my co-workers are a lot nicer when they find out who my mother is. Sometimes they call me ‘Lois Jr.’ and I don’t mind a bit.”

Smith encouraged her mother to apply for the gig not long after she started working at the airport, about five-and-a-half years ago, according to Haynes.

“It’s funny when co-workers first learn that we’re mother/daughter,” the 49-year-old Queens Village resident said.

They once worked the same shift and at the same check point, but now have different hours and are stationed at different locations within the airport.

“It’s been a pleasure” working with her daughter, Haynes said. She is also thankful that her daughter introduced her to a job she enjoys.

As a TSA officer, Haynes work includes screening passengers and luggage, and checking travel documents. Additionally, she is involved with the recertification of officers.

“I am a people person and I also like to mentor,” Haynes said.

When she’s not at the airport, Haynes spends her free time with her daughter going to boutiques and out to eat.

“We have a very close relationship outside of the job,” Haynes said. “She’s my muse, she picks out my clothes, tells me what looks ugly.”

Though the two have different schedules, this Mother’s Day, they both have off from work.

Haynes, who also has a 15-year-old son, is not exactly sure what her family is planning for Sunday, but she “heard they are going to be making [her] a nice seafood dinner.”

 

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Two teens arrested in attempted abductions of girls in Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Two suspects wanted in connection to the attempted abductions of several young girls off the streets of Queens have been arrested, police said.

Joshua Wright, 17, and Andrew Ghulam, 16, both of Queens, have been charged with two counts each of attempted unlawful imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment, officials said.

The first victim, an 11 year-old girl, was approached about 4 p.m. Wednesday as she was heading home from school near 111th Avenue and 208 Street in Queens Village.

After she noticed a dark-green SUV, with two men inside of it, slowly following her, the passenger, who was wearing a black mask, exited from the vehicle, and tried to talk to the girl, cops said. She then ran away and the suspects fled in the car.

A short time later, around 113th Avenue and 196th Street, in St. Albans, three girls, a 10-year-old and two 11-year-olds, noticed they were being followed by a green Jeep Cherokee. The driver handed a gun to the passenger then pulled a mask over his face before getting out of the SUV, according to police. The girls then hid behind a parked vehicle as the two men drove by them. The suspects circled back and passed the victims again before leaving the area in their car.

 

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ASPCA hosting adoption event at 105th Precinct in Queens Village


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of ASPCA

The 105th Precinct and ASPCA are teaming up this weekend in Queens Village to help some dogs and cats find a loving home.

This Sunday the public is invited to come and meet adoptable dogs and cats from the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan from 12 to 4 p.m at the precinct’s parking lot, located at 92-08 222nd St.

All adoption fees during the event will be 50 percent off and all available cats and dogs will be spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, vaccinated, behaviorally assessed and provided an ID tag free of charge.

Additionally, adoption counselors from the ASPCA will be on-site to help answer questions about temperament and personality in order to make the best possible match.

Potential adopters should bring one government-issued photo ID (i.e. driver’s license, passport, military ID, or non-driver ID), proof of address and contact information for a personal reference. Adopters must be 21 or older.

 

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DOE withdraws co-location plans


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

From the 49 co-location proposals released last year for schools all around the city, the Department of Education (DOE) has announced it will be withdrawing nine and revising one.

Two plans that have now been withdrawn included opening a K-4 Success Academy charter school in August Martin High School in Jamaica and bringing a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school to Long Island City High School. The rest of the plans involve schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“The previous administration handed over these proposals – and we have had to review all of them under inflexible deadlines. While the circumstances for each proposal are unique, we identified clear criteria and we followed it,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said. “We were deliberate in our decisions and, under the circumstance we inherited, believe is the best approach.”

In reviewing the proposals, the DOE identified four “core values” that will be used to evaluate co-locations: new elementary schools should not be opened on high school campuses; the new schools must have the resources needed to provide services the students deserve; depending on capital work to make space for the co-location; and seats must not be reduced in District 75, serving special needs students.

The agency also took into consideration deadlines and the impact some of the proposals would have on thousands of families.

“If there is one thing school communities should know, it’s this: we’re going to do things differently,” Fariña said. “Today, we are turning the page on the approach of the past. We are going to listen and be responsive like never before, and that will be reflected in everything we do.”

The Career and Technical Education high school proposed for LIC High School is now planned to be moved to Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan.

“This is a win for all of us in the community, but most of all for the students who only want the resources they deserve to receive a proper education,” State Senator Michael Gianaris said about LIC High School.

The DOE plans to host a meeting for each school community of the proposals that will be implemented. The meeting will help discuss next steps and also allow the DOE to engage with parents and school officials.

Councilmember Mark Weprin said that he is disappointed to learn that the DOE still plans on pursuing its plan to co-locate another school at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village. However, he said he has heard that the DOE will work with the local community to make sure the programs at the school meet the community’s needs.


THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan 

“We want to make Martin Van Buren a destination high school once again,” Weprin said.

 

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Security stepped up at Creedmoor after convicted killer escapes psych facility


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A Queens psychiatric facility has tightened security after a convicted criminal managed to flee the building, according to the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH).

A friend was visiting Raymond Morillo, 33, a patient at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Facility in Queens Village, on January 28, when the two switched clothing and Morillo escaped, police said.

Two days later, Morillo was apprehended in Tennessee.

Raymond Morillo

Morillo served a 14-year prison sentence on a manslaughter charge for a fatal shooting and for assault, but had finished serving his time when he came to Creedmoor, according to published reports.

“Increased identity verification procedures have been put into place at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, which add a separate and distinct layer of verification apart from the identification passes provided at entrances. For security purposes, OMH cannot detail these additional measures,” Ben Rosen, an OMH spokesperson said.

In response to Morillo’s escape, a coalition of more than a dozen civic presidents issued a seven-point plan of action that called for measures, such as a full investigation into the incident, the adoption of a comprehensive security plan for the entire Creedmoor campus that would prevent a similar incident from happening again, and a similar review and assessment of security at nearby Zucker-Hillside Hospital.

Any escaped patient is immediately reported to local law enforcement, Rosen said. It is also OMH policy to undergo a thorough investigation to determine the causes of such occurrences and require appropriate policy changes be made to prevent them from reoccurring.

 

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