“#Queens ‘vigilante’ used gun, car to scare innocent black men from neighborhood: DA”
June 8, 2020 | 7:28pm
Yosef Aranbayev allegedly opened fire on two black men as he pursued their Dodge Durango through Jamaica Queens in his Chevy Tahoe, the Queens District Attorney’s office said.
The victims nearly collided with a cop car as they rushed to notify officers they were being chased and shot at, prosecutors said.
The cops saw the Durango drive through a gas station to avoid hitting a traffic light and when they pulled the 41-year-old defendant over he allegedly said “those guys were in my neighborhood. I’m sorry officer, I didn’t do anything wrong. They were scouting my whole neighborhood the whole day,” prosecutors said.
“I was chasing those guys,” Aranbayev allegedly said adding he had help from others. “We’re chasing them out of our neighborhood.”
The officers then saw a loaded gun and shell casings and Aranbayev then allegedly admitted to them, “I wasn’t shooting to kill them — just shooting to scare them,” according to prosecutors.
“Public streets belong to everyone – and it offends the public conscience to think that someone believes they have the right to chase down and shoot at anyone because they’re not from the neighborhood,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “This could have ended with someone being killed.”
“The defendant is accused of being a vigilante hell-bent on clearing his neighborhood of the two black men who drove through,” Katz added.
Aranbayev was charged with attempted assault as a hate crime, attempted murder as a hate crime and other related charges. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Aranbayev was arraigned on Sunday and held on $25,000 cash bail and $50,000 bond. Court records show he hadn’t posted bail as of Monday.
“My only comment is that my client is not a racist and the district attorney’s office has no evidence of a hate crime,” said Aranbayev’s lawyer, Gregory Val Bitterman.
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