Police said an apparent robbery of a gambling den in the basement of a Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn resulted in the death of one man and the injury of three others.
The accident happened in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. According to police sources familiar with the investigation, a group of suspects allegedly broke into the den and stole money and cell phones from the men. When they fled, the owner and the others resisted.
One of the victims, a 46-year-old man, died at NYU Langone Brooklyn. Two others sustained non-threatening injuries, and were taken to the same hospital. A fourth person who was stabbed at the scene was treated.
Police are investigating how the thieves learned of the existence of the alleged gambling den.
Despite the casualties, there was no immediate evidence that Friday night’s attack was related to the worrying spike in attacks against the Asian community in recent days.
Just last week, New York Police said there were five attacks in two days on Asian Americans across the five boroughs. Among them was a 52-year-old woman thrown into newsstands in Queens. The suspect in this attack was later arrested after posting a video on social media.
Police also released surveillance footage showing an Asian woman being assaulted and robbed in Flushing. In the video, a man grabs the woman from behind, then throws her to the ground before repeatedly punching her, kicking and pulling her.
In the video, the suspect is seen running with the woman’s bag. However, a source said there was no indication that the attack was a hate crime.
New York Police formed an Asian hate crime task force just last year to investigate crimes against the Asian community, which have increased amid the pandemic. In 2019, there were three reported cases of violence against Asians – that number increased to nearly 30 in 2020.
New York City is not alone where anti-Asian sentiment has led to violence. There were at least 18 attacks on Asian Americans in San Francisco in February alone.