Community calls for unity after Sheepshead Bay hammer attack
Elected officials and community members gathered on Friday outside the Sheepshead Bay restaurant where three people were fatally attacked last week, calling on the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to declare the attack a hate crime.
Councilmember Margaret Chin said the assailant, identified by police as Arthur Martunovich, 34, targeted the Seaport Buffet on Emmons Avenue with “the goal to massacre Asians.”
“Let’s be clear, this is a racial hate crime,” Chin said.
Martunovich entered the restaurant on Jan. 15 with a hammer, allegedly targeting the Asian men working there after seeing a movie about mistreatment of Asian women. The attack led to the death of chef Faui Pun, owner Kheon Ng-Thang and manager Tsz Mat Pun.
Martunovich was taken into custody just blocks away from the restaurant and was charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon. He has since been hospitalized in a psychiatric ward.
“Our community has been shaken to the core,” said Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, who represents the area. “We are not here to shout about the senselessness of it all, but to represent our solidarity.”
Kenneth Adler, 5, and his older brother Samuel, 6, stood next to the lawmakers, holding homemade signs denouncing violence and calling for love. “We’re pretty mortified by everything,” said the boys’ mother, Amber Adler. “This violence does not represent what is happening in south Brooklyn.”
“We are standing together as one,” Deutsch said to the crowd. “New Yorkers care for each other, respect each other and support each other in difficult times.”
Assemblymember William Colton and state Sen. Andrew Gounardes were also among the politicians in attendance.
Additional reporting by Meaghan McGoldrick
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