Teenager Charged With 3 Separate Hate-Crime Attacks on Sikh Men in Queens Stabbed to Death
- Vernon Douglas, 19, had attacked an elderly man, and nine days later, along with an accomplice, he mugged two men in separate incidents.
A teenager recently charged with two hate crime attacks on Sikhs in Queens, New York, was stabbed to death in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, news reports said, citing police. Vernon Douglas, 19, had attacked an elderly man in Queens, and nine days later, along with an accomplice, he mugged two men in separate incidents in the borough.
Douglas was arrested on April 12 for the attacks and charged but was later released for reasons not clear. But the New York Daily News, citing online records from the Queens District Attorney’s Office, said Douglas had another court date scheduled for July 27 in connection to the April 12 case.
Police told the Daily News that they don’t believe the June 30 attack on Douglas was related to the assaults on the Sikh men. The teen was seen in a confrontation with another man in front of a home, the Daily News reported, adding that police found him stabbed in the chest. Although “medics rushed him to Brookdale Hospital, he could not be saved,” the report added.
In Early April, Douglas attacked 70-year-old Nirmal Singh, during his early morning walk in Queens. The elderly man had just arrived in the U.S. two weeks ago. He was walking around 6:45 a.m. at 95th Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill when Douglas socked him in the nose, causing pain and bleeding. The attacker did not say a word and fled after the assault. Singh was treated at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and released.
The attack became viral by the afternoon of April 3, thanks to photos posted by Gurinder Singh, an engineer from South Richmond Hill who volunteers at The Sikh Cultural Society. He stumbled upon the victim on a bench three feet away from the temple. The photos show blood on the sidewalk, Singh’s face, hands, jacket and turban and scuff marks on his knee.
Nine days later, along with his accomplice, Hezekiah Coleman, 20, Douglas attacked Gulzar Singh, who was walking to work in the morning, chatting with his wife on a video call, as reported by The New York Times. “The two men beat the 45-year-old Sikh across the back of the head, ripped off his turban and left him bleeding on the sidewalk in a quiet Queens neighborhood,” The Times report said. The attack left him with five stitches over his eye.
Ten minutes later, on the same block, they attacked Sajan Singh, 58, from behind, and “beat him, robbed him and ripped off his turban,” The Times added.
Gulzar Singh, a construction worker, told The Times that when he moved to Queens from India in 2015, he was told of these occasional attacks. “But when I saw our beautiful community here I did not think this would happen.”
Both Douglas and Coleman were charged with robbery as a hate crime, assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment based on race or religion.