A man charged with murder last month in the murder of a Chinese food delivery boy amid a duck sauce dispute was found dead on Friday after shooting himself in his Queens apartment, two people say aware of the case.
The man’s attorney confirmed that his client appeared to have committed suicide.
Authorities found the man, Glenn Hirsch, 51, surveilling him after he failed to appear in court in the murder case, attorney Arthur L. Aidala said. An official cause of death had not been determined as of Friday afternoon, the medical examiner’s office said. Mr. Hirsch left a note, according to the two people with knowledge of the matter.
At the time he was found, Mr Hirsch was on bail with an ankle bracelet monitor after being arraigned in June on murder and other charges in the murder of delivery man Zhiwen Yan. He had pleaded not guilty and faced life in prison if convicted of murder.
“Glen Hirsch and I had a great relationship and it saddens me that he went down this path when we were very well prepared to fight this in the courtroom,” Mr Aidala said. “He has always maintained his innocence.”
A lawyer for Mr Yan’s family, Jennifer Wu, said they were “in shock” after learning of the apparent suicide. She declined any further comment.
Prosecutors say Mr. Hirsch shot and killed Mr. Yan on April 30 amid a dispute stemming from Mr. Hirsch’s feeling that he didn’t get enough duck sauce with an order he had. spent several months before at Great Wall, the Chinese restaurant where Mr. Yan had worked for more than two decades.
Mr. Yan was on his scooter at a red light when Mr. Hirsch approached him on foot from across the street and fired several shots at him before driving off, prosecutors said. Mr Yan was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.
Mr. Hirsch had previously been involved in altercations with Great Wall employees, slashing the tires of a worker’s car and telling employees on another occasion, “I have a gun,” the authorities said. prosecutors. On one occasion, he pointed a gun at a worker who was shoveling snow outside the restaurant, prosecutors said.
Mr. Yan’s death shocked the middle-class section of Forest Hills where it occurred. Local leaders have denounced the murder as a disturbing example of increased violence against food delivery workers, many of whom are Asian Americans, during the coronavirus pandemic, and increased biased attacks on Americans of Asian origin more widely.
Mr. Yan was from Fuzhou in southeast China. Friends and colleagues described him as working seven days a week to support his wife and three young children and sometimes helping his wife with work at a nearby laundromat when things slowed down at the restaurant.
Chelsia Rose Marcius and William K. Rashbaum contributed report.