Teenager accused of perpetrating hate crimes stabbed to death in New York

Vernon Douglas was found stabbed in the chest in Brooklyn

<p>A New York Police Department vehicle.  </p>

A New York Police Department vehicle.

A man accused of perpetrating multiple hate crimes against Sikhs in New York City died after being stabbed in the chest by an assailant on Thursday night in Brooklyn.

Vernon Douglas, 19, had been charged with the highly-publicised assault of a 70-year-old Indian visitor to New York named Nirmal Singh. Mr Douglas had reportedly punched Mr Singh multiple times in the face while walking in the Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens early on the morning of April 3.

Authorities responded to a call regarding Mr Douglas’ welfare on Thursday night and found him lying in the street unresponsive. They transported him to Brookdale Hospital, to no avail. PIX 11 reported that police said Mr Douglas and another man had argued in the moments leading up to the stabbing, but police have yet to identify a suspect in the case.

Police also said that they do not believe that the stabbing is connected to the anti-Sikh hate crimes Mr Douglas was accused of. Mr Douglas was facing up to 25 years in prison at the time of his death.

Mr Douglas, who was facing charges of assault as a hate crime, robbery and aggravated harassment for the attack on Mr Singh, was also facing charges for beating two other Sikh men with a stick and robbing one of several hundred dollars. All three of Mr Douglas’ alleged victims went to the hospital for treatment after they were attacked.

“This defendant is accused of targeting three men, all members of the Sikh community who wore turbans at the time of the attacks,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement on Mr Douglas. “We will not tolerate beatings motivated by hate in the borough of Queens – the most diverse county in the world.”

That the attacks occured in Richmond Hill, also nicknamed Little Punjab, was particularly troubling to Sikh community leaders.

“A lot of people are very saddened and just scared,” Japneet Singh told Flushing Post in April.

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