After extinguishing a two-alarm blaze in South Richmond Hill, firefighters made a grisly discovery: the man inside the second-story apartment had been bound and shot in the head.
On Sunday, February 24 at approximately 2:35 a.m., police responded to a 9-1-1 call of a fire inside an apartment above a bodega on 95th Avenue. Once the fire was put out, officers discovered the victim, a 43-year-old Asian man, unconscious and unresponsive with severe burns. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The fire has been deemed “suspicious” by the FDNY and NYPD, and various media reports say the victim was found tied by his hands and feet, and was shot.
Neighbors say that the scene was scary and chaotic.
“I had my window cracked a little bit, I woke up and my room was filled with smoke,” said Pavneet Kaur who lives just a few doors down from the scene of the crime. “There was so much smoke, the entire street was filled. You couldn’t see anything.”
Kaur said that people were out on the streets, screaming for all of their neighbors to wake up and get outside.
“We were sleeping, and we heard someone shouting, so we came outside,” said Nerinden Kaur. “If it was windy, the fire could have spread to another house. Right now we all feel scared.”
Although those who live in the neighborhood do not know much about the victim, they are surprised that this incident could happen on their quiet block.
“This is a nice neighborhood,” said one resident who did not wish to give his name. “There are two churches right around the block. This is very strange news.”
On Monday, the day after the fire, a cleaning crew was on the scene, removing debris and securing the area. The investigation is ongoing.