Faulty System and Human Error Delayed Medical Help to Kids Who Died in Queens Fire

Categories: Fire, Queens

Wikimedia Commons
On April 19, a fire broke out on Bay 30th Street in Far Rockaway, Queens. The first 911 call came in at 11:51 p.m. The first firefighters arrived at the scene five minutes later. They began hosing down the blaze and attempting to rescue the children trapped inside. Firefighters carried two small children out of the house and then searched for any paramedics on the scene, but there were none there.

More »

Queens Couple Charged With Starving and Beating 12-Year-Old Daughter For Nearly Two Years

Image via Google Maps
96th Street in Ozone Park, Queens, where the Ranots reportedly lived. Their address is listed as that of the boarded-up building on the right.
An Ozone Park, Queens couple has been arrested after their 12-year-old daughter told authorities about the abuse that she endured at their hands, including being isolated, beaten and starved down to just 58 pounds. Rajesh Ranot, 46, the child's father, and Sheetal Ranot, 31, her stepmother, are being charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child in the attacks on Maya Ranot. According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, the little girl was been seen by emergency room doctors at least three times over the past year and a half. In one May, 2013 incident, emergency medical technicians found Maya lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, with the tendons to her left wrist cut to the bone after her stepmother allegedly attacked her with a metal broom handle.

More »

Police Looking for Suspect Who Stole 34k in Five Queens Bank Robberies

Police say this man has tried to rob seven banks.
The spree, according to police, began two years ago. The suspect robbed Amalgamated Bank in Jackson Heights, Queens. Since then, police suspect that the same man has struck at six other banks across the borough, most recently last week.

More »

Allegedly Horrible People Charged With Stealing $12.4 Million from Special Needs Toddlers

Google Maps
The very reputable-looking Far Rockaway strip mall where Island Child Development Center (center) was located.
Here's your story for today about terrible people doing awful things: according to the Queens County District Attorney's office, four men in Far Rockaway, including a rabbi, have been charged with stealing $12.4 million intended for Jewish special needs toddlers.

More »

New York Times Reporter Rescues Mostly Frozen Turtle Outside Alleged Cockfighting Den

Photo by Sarah Maslin Nir via Instagram
The chilly little dude in question.
The animals of Woodhaven, Queens had a pretty exciting few days. First, a team of state and local police, led by the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office, busted up an alleged cockfighting ring, right before a Saturday-night bout. Hens and roosters were rescued from a basement in Queens, a pet shop in Brooklyn, and thousands more from a farm upstate. (That was the good news; the bad news is that the roosters are going to be very hard to place, according to a chief officer at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, because they've been bred for aggression and are ill-suited to settling down to a quiet life on a farm somewhere.)

But in the midst of that less than heartwarming story, here's a better one: yesterday, a New York Times metro reporter, in the midst of reporting a follow-up story in the neighborhood around the alleged cockfighting den, discovered a rather excellent turtle, half-buried in the snow and looking for a good home. Or crickets. He was probably looking for crickets.

More »

Eight Arrested and 3,000 Birds Rescued As "Operation Angry Birds" Busts Cockfight in Queens

Image via Google Maps.
74-26 Jamaica Avenue, where the cockfights were reportedly held.
On Saturday night, state police, investigators from the New York Attorney General's Office, and the Department of Homeland Security brought an end to a popular attraction held at an abandoned storefront in Queens: a cockfighting ring, where roosters raised in upstate New York and held at a pet store in Brooklyn were made to fight to the death. Really? We can't find anything better to do with our weekends, cockfighting spectators?

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced this weekend that investigators from his office's New York State Organized Crime Task Force had arrested and charged eight people in the alleged cockfighting ring, in an investigation they dubbed "Operation Angry Birds." During the Saturday night raid, according to the New York Times , officers watched as people paid $40 each and filed into the basement of a vacant storefront at 74-26 Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven. The roosters waiting to fight were held in sacks on the basement wall; many of the 65 birds rescued, per the NYT, had "their natural spurs clipped off and with sharper metal spurs attached to their bodies."

More »

The New York Post Is Freaking Out About This "Vicious" High School Confessions Facebook Page [Updated]

One of the many terrifying memes being circulated on Forest Hills HS Confessions
It's really hard to figure out the moral universe in which the New York Post resides. Homeless children living in dangerous, vermin-ridden, sexual assault-plagued shelters? No big deal. Woman reports being raped? Meh, she probably made that up. But halt the presses, call out the National Guard, break out the desk liquor and huff into your paper bags, everybody, because some high school students have a Facebook page.

That's the gist of this masterful piece of reporting, which apparently took no less than three of the Post's crack team. Titled, "'Mean Girls' meets 'Gossip Girl' in vicious school Facebook page," it's about, as the authors put it, "the students' dark secret," a page in which two anonymous moderators put up confessions sent in by the students of Forest Hills High School in Queens.

And it's bad. Real bad. Some of these kids are having S-E-X.

More »

LGBT Group Calls for Attorney's Apology After He Argues Transgender Murder Victim Wasn't a "Certain Class" of Person

Image via Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar
On March 28, 2010, Rasheen Everett murdered Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar, a 29-year-old transgender woman he'd met online. After Everett strangled Gonzalez-Andujar in her Glendale, Queens, apartment, he poured bleach on her body and ransacked her home, stealing her camera, keys, laptop, coat, and cell phone, and, according to one report, destroying all of her Marilyn Monroe photos. The neighbors could hear screaming and banging, yet no one came to Gonzalez-Andujar's aid. Everett left the apartment 18 hours later, carrying Gonzalez-Andujar's stolen property, and hopped a bus to Las Vegas. Her family discovered her body three days later.

Everett was arrested in Las Vegas a month later and brought back to New York to stand trial. Now 32, he was convicted last month of second-degree murder, second-degree burglary, and tampering with physical evidence. On December 5, before a Queens judge sentenced Everett to 29 years to life in prison, his attorney, John Scarpa, argued that his clients should escape serious prison time, given the low social status of the person he killed.

"Who is the victim in this case?" Scarpa asked the jury, according to the New York Post. "Is the victim a person in the higher end of the community?"

More »

Another Blessing Scam Suspect Pleads Guilty, This Time in Queens

Fengluan Qin, a 50-year-old from Queens, pleaded guilty on Thursday to stealing thousand of dollars from elderly Chinese women. She is the latest suspect to face punishment for committing the "blessing scam," a coast-to-coast crime wave in which con artists tricked targets into thinking that an evil spirit would kill a loved one unless the target performed a ceremony that involved placing all of her cash and jewelry into a bag.

Prosecutors charged that Qin, along with an accomplice, pulled the scam three times in Queens within a one week stretch in April. Qin copped to one count of second-degree larceny and two counts of third degree-larceny.

More »

Queens Man Sues Car Dealership Over an Escalating Series of Insane Events

Image via Facebook.
Mamdoh Eltouby, driving.
Here's the short version: A Queens cab driver and father of three, Shahdat Tuhin, 41, is suing a Woodside car dealership called New York Motor Group, alleging that they sold him a lemon, and charged him much more than he'd agreed. He's upset about that. Longer version: According to the lawsuit he filed this month in federal court, Tuhin is also upset about other things he says the dealership did during the process of selling him that car, including defrauding him, deceiving him, and threatening to file for divorce on his behalf. (We'll explain in a minute, don't worry.)

Things got so out of hand, according to Tuhin, that New York Motor Group's owner, Mamdoh Eltouby, tried to run him over during a "peaceful protest" of the dealership's business practices.

More »