Tag Archives: Ray Lazier Lengend

New Year’s fire bomber, Ray Lazier Lengend, charged with hate crime


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

An alleged arsonist arrested for a series of fires started on New Year’s Day is feeling the heat after being indicted on state and federal hate crime charges.

Ray Lazier Lengend, also known as Suraj Poonai, was taken into custody on January 3 – two days after police believe he threw glass bottles filled with gasoline at six occupied buildings in Queens and Long Island, two of which were places of worship.

The 40-year-old Queens Village resident was charged in a 36-count indictment, including arson as a hate crime, grand larceny, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison – with a minimum jail term of 20 years – if found guilty.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Lengend, who drove a silver Buick Regal that was stolen from a rental car facility at John F. Kennedy Airport, visited two separate gas stations in the vicinity of the Van Wyck Expressway on January 1 – purchasing glass coffee bottles at the first and filling the containers with gasoline at the second.

Lengend then proceeded to visit five sites in Queens – a deli on Hillside Avenue, a home on 107th Avenue, the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation mosque on the Van Wyck Expressway, a residence on 170th Street which is also used as a Hindu house of worship, and a dwelling on 43rd Avenue – and heave Molotov cocktails at the structures, according to the charges. Police say he also threw a fire bomb at one building in Long Island.

Lengend purportedly admitted to police that he planned to inflict as much damage and “take out” as many Muslims and Arabs as possible.

“Particularly troubling is the fact that the defendant is alleged to have been motivated by hate in at least two of the instances where he is alleged to have struck at a Muslim house of worship and attempted to strike at a second location which is a Hindu house of worship,” said Brown. “Hate crimes – whether they are motivated by religion, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender – will not be tolerated here in Queens, the country’s most diverse county. When they do regrettably occur, they will be condemned swiftly and those responsible will be brought to justice.”

Authorities say Lengend was recognized by a deli employee – who witnessed the suspect attempting to shoplift a bottle of Starbucks Frappacino and a small plastic bottle of milk on December 27 and expelled him from the store. Witnesses also spotted the stolen Buick Regal at several sites.

No injuries were reported in relation to the attacks, but one of the homes did sustain heavy fire damage in the living room. The damage on the mosque was minimal.

“We trust the court system to do the right thing, and we would like for justice to take its course,” said Syed Razvi, representative of the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation. “We don’t want to return back the hatred with which he came towards us. A person like this definitely has to be made an example of. I hope he serves his sentence, and that will serve as an example and deter people from performing similar crimes in the future, especially against houses of worship.”

Mosque firebomber faces life in prison for hate crimes


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mosque firebomber faces life in prison for hate crimes

The Queens pyromaniac who went on a New Year’s Day firebombing spree appeared for his Thursday arraignment looking like he could use a few swigs from the frappucino bottles he used during his hate-filled rampage. Ray Lazier Lengend looked groggy and dazed as he sat slumped in a chair at Bellevue Hospital for an arraignment piped by video feed into Queens Criminal Court. Lengend, 40, responded to Supreme Court Justice Lenora Gerald’s questions with one-word answers, occasionally closing his eyes. Read More: Daily News

Queens Business Owners Call For Litter Crackdown

 Queens residents are facing a big trash problem on Liberty Avenue. There are overflowing garbage cans, garbage bags on the sidewalks, and litter all over the street between the Van Wyck Expressway and Woodhaven Boulevard. “It’s a daily problem,” says one resident. The merchants are paying for it. The Department of Sanitation has ticketed many for not keeping their storefronts clean, but Paul Singh, owner of New Union Turnpike Auto Parts, says tidying up is next to impossible. Read More: NY1

Courier publisher to appear on Geraldo’s radio show on WABC 770AM at 10AM today

The publisher of The Queens Courier, Victoria Schneps-Yunis, will join Geraldo Rivera’s radio program on January 6 to discuss the 40th anniversary of his reports on the deplorable conditions for the children at the Willowbrook State School. It was in 1971 that Schneps, along with members of WORC, the Working Organization for Retarded Children, picketed the school to fight for the rights of Schneps’ daughter Lara and the 5,400 residents at Willowbrook, a Staten Island school for mentally disabled children. The story took off when Rivera, then a reporter for ABC television, reported on the neglect the children at Willowbrook faced. Read More: Queens Courier & Listen to the live stream at 10AM at WABC

Mets Fans Turn Out For Annual Winter Blood Drive

It may be January, but Mets fans headed back to Citi Field Thursday. It was mostly about blood, not baseball, as the team held its annual winter blood drive. Donors received a voucher for tickets to a Mets game in April, as well as a discount at the Mets team store. All of the donations will go to the New York Blood Center. “Particularly this blood drive being just after the first of the year, we are really replenishing diminished supply over the holidays from the past two weeks, holidays and schools being off. So this is a tremendous opportunity for community members to come out and save lives,” said Diana Zaferiou of the New York Blood Center. Read More: NY1

Archbishop Timothy Dolan one of 22 new cardinals named by Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI named 22 new cardinals Friday, including prelates in such key posts as New York and Hong Kong and a large group of Italians holding major Vatican positions. The Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, and former Archbishop of Baltimore, Edwin O’Brien, were among those named by the pope. Dolan said in a statement today, “Over the Christmas holy days, I finished a new biography of President Kennedy and I recalled his reply to someone who sincerely congratulated him on the honor of the presidency. ‘Thank you,’ John Kennedy replied, ‘but I don’t look at it so much as an honor, but as a call to higher service.’ Read More:  New York Post

‘Jail farewell’ tour

A Queens landlord is a free man after being acquitted of murder yesterday — but his freedom train is making stops at both Rikers Island and an upstate prison. Jailed four years, three months and one week since his 2007 arrest, Michael McLennon, 41, was more than eligible to be sprung immediately on the weapons-possession charge on which he did get convicted. But correctional red tape required that he spend last night in Rikers, and then be bused to Downstate Correctional prison in Fishkill today so his release can be processed, said his lawyer, Tamara Harris. Read More: New York Post

‘Proof’ of robbery

This “brandy bandit” should have saved the celebrating until after the heist. A gun-toting thug was busted Tuesday after detectives traced his fingerprints off a bottle of cheap booze he left outside the T-Mobile store in Queens he allegedly robbed, cops say. Gregory Kennedy, 31, is now accused of pocketing $11,435 from stick-ups at 11 Dunkin’ Donuts, T-Mobile stores and other businesses between October 11 and December 30. On November 25, Kennedy drained a half-pint of Paul Masson Grand Amber while staking out a T-Mobile store on Jamaica Avenue from an unlicensed livery cab, law-enforcement sources said. Read More: New York Post

Ten MS-13 gang members from Flushing indicted for racketeering 

Ten members of the infamous MS-13 gang from Flushing were indicted Thursday on racketeering charges, including violent machete and baseball attacks against rivals, authorities said. “The only people who should be wielding baseball bats in Flushing are Mets, not MS-13,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Federal agents and NYPD detectives arrested eight of the thugs in early morning raids while two others were already incarcerated. The defendants were members of a powerful clique of Mara Salvatrucha 13 wreaking havoc in their Queens neighborhood since 2007, authorities said. Read More: New York Post

[UPDATE] Suspect charged with hate crime in fire bomb attacks


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Pearl Gabel

The man picked up by police in connection with a string of five fire bombings, four in Queens and one on Long Island, confessed to authorities and has been charged with a hate crime.

Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, was tracked through a stolen car eyewitnesses saw at the scene of at least two of the attacks. Authorities believe Lengend stole the car, a late-model Buick, from a rental lot at John F. Kennedy International Airport. He was arrested on Tuesday, January 3 and charged with one count of arson as a hate crime, four counts of arson and five counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

According to police, hours before he was charged, Lengend implicated himself in each of the five attacks, stating that he had personal grievances with each of his targets.

Authorities believe Lengend was kicked out of a convenience store on December 27 for trying to steal a glass Starbucks Frappuccino bottle and milk. The owner of the convenience store said that as Lengend was leaving the store, he threatened retaliation.

That deli was later firebombed by a homemade Molotov cocktail, along with four other targets. Four of the five firebombs thrown at the various locations were made from glass Starbucks bottles, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. The fifth likely was made from a beer bottle.

Before the suspect’s confession, Kelly, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other Queens elected officials, gathered at one of the targets, the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center in Jamaica, to condemn the attacks.

According to police, the incidents occurred between 8 and 10:15 p.m. on Sunday, January 1. No injuries were reported and damage to the mosque was minimal. On Monday, January 2, police released a sketch of the suspect and video showing the man hurling a flaming bottle at a home on 170th Street that doubles as a Hindu place of worship.

The other two targets were private homes, with one house sustaining heavy fire damage in the living room, though no injuries were reported.
After meeting with representatives of the mosque and elected officials, Bloomberg said that the city will not tolerate violence, whether it was a senseless act or a more targeted hate crime.

“In either case, one attack is too many,” he said. “We all know that we are in this together and discrimination against one is discrimination against many.”

Borough President Helen Marshall called it a “sad day” and said that she was extremely upset by the thought of attacks like these happening in a borough as diverse as Queens.

“This man must be punished by the fullest extent of the law,” she said. “To throw bombs without knowing who is inside – it’s just wrong, and it’s not Queens.”

Gov. Cuomo wants Aqueduct racino to serve as 3.8 million square foot convention center


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYC Firebombing Suspect Charged with Hate Crime

A New York man suspected of five New York City fire bombings was arrested today and charged with a hate crime. Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, was charged with one count of arson as a hate crime and four counts of arson in connection with the Sunday attacks that targeted an Islamic center, a Hindu temple, a bodega and two private homes. Lengend was arrested by cops who staked out a vehicle overnight awaiting the return of the vehicle’s owner. According to law enforcement officials, Lengend made statements that appear to implicate him in at least some of the bombings, but stopped short of a confession in the first rounds of interrogation. Detectives, relying on statements from witnesses and grainy surveillance video, determined the suspected bomber drove a late model car with Virginia license plates. Read More: ABC News

Gov. Cuomo wants Aqueduct racino to serve as 3.8 million square foot convention center

Governor Cuomo wants to up the ante on the future of the Aqueduct racino in Queens and make it home to the country’s largest convention center, the Daily News has learned. The planned project will be highlighted as part of the economic development agenda Cuomo will outline in his State of the State address Wednesday, two sources told The News. “The notion is that (Cuomo) is going to put the project on the fast-track to get it done,” one source said. “They need a couple of big economic development initiatives to announce.” Read More: Daily News

Pol, residents demand DOT repair broken curbs

Queens residents have had their hopes for safe sidewalks curbed by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Senator Tony Avella recently united with perturbed residents from northern and eastern Queens – who have suffered with broken curbs in front of their homes for years – to demand the DOT “accelerate” their sidewalk repair program. Read More: Queens Courier

Transit advocates oppose plan to turn defunct railroad into QueensWay park 

A plan to transform an abandoned rail line into a park in southern Queens is generating a lot of buzz, but a group of transit advocates has another vision. They believe the tracks, which have sat idle for five decades, should be reactivated to give southern Queens residents an easier commute to Manhattan. The Long Island Rail Road operated the line, which once ran from Rockaway, up through Ozone Park and Forest Park to Rego Park. It was discontinued in the early 1960s and the property is currently owned by the city. A growing group of supporters is pushing for a High Line-type park to be known as the QueensWay. Read More: Daily News

Lobbyist Is Expected to Plead Guilty in Corruption Case

Richard J. Lipsky, a prominent New York lobbyist who was charged in the bribery conspiracy case that also ensnared State Senator Carl Kruger, is expected to plead guilty on Wednesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, a person briefed on the matter said Tuesday. Mr. Lipsky’s plea would come just two weeks after Kruger resigned from the Senate and pleaded guilty to corruption charges in the broad conspiracy case that has been seen as reflecting corruption in Albany. Mr. Kruger faces up to 50 years in prison when he is sentenced in April by Judge Jed S. Rakoff. Read More: New York Times

Officials Condemn Queens Firebomb Attacks

Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with religious leaders Tuesday morning in a strong show of support after Molotov cocktails hit an Islamic cultural center, a Hindu house of worship, and two other locations in Queens this weekend. “Whether it was senseless violence or a hate crime will be determined down the road. But in either case we’re just not going to tolerate it in this city. And fortunately the number of incidents like this are very low, but one is one too many,” Bloomberg said. Read More: NY1

TSA: Pre-Check Screenings Coming To JFK

The screening process is getting faster and easier for some passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Federal officials announced Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration’s Pre-Check Program will be enacted at the airport early this year. Eligible American Airlines passengers as well as members of the Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler programs will go through an expedited screening process which does not require taking off shoes, a jacket or belt. Read More: NY1