Lengend pleaded guilty last month to first-degree attempted arson as a hate crime.
By Forum Staff
A Queens Village man will face 20 years in prison for firebombing five occupied buildings – including two houses of worship – on the night of January 1, 2012.
Suraj Poonai Ray Lazier Lengend, 45, of 215 Street plead guilty last month to first-degree attempted arson as a hate crime before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron. The prison term will be followed by five years’ post release supervision.
According to DA Richard Brown, in pleading guilty, Lengend admitted that he threw a flaming gasoline-filled bottle at a Hindu place of worship, which is also a private residence, located on 170 Street that caused a fire on the front lawn. Soon afterwards, he threw gasoline filled bottles into another private home on 43 Avenue, where people were inside.
Charges in the case explained the path of destruction; Lengend then drove to a deli located at 179th Street and Hillside Avenue, where he ignited a glass bottle containing gasoline and threw it inside the store. The Molotov cocktail hit the floor and gasoline spilled out spreading the flames as he ran out of the store.
The defendant then drove to a home on 107th Avenue and tossed another incendiary device through the front bedroom window. The ensuing flames caused damage to both the interior and exterior of the private home.
Lengend’s next act of hate was throwing a glass bottle at the exterior wall of the Al-Khoei Benevolent Association, a mosque located at 89-89 Van Wyck Expressway. The fire caused damage to the mosque’s exterior.
In statements the defendant made to the police, he admitted to planning the attacks to inflict as much damage as possible and his goal was to take out as many Muslims and Arabs as possible. He went on to state that he disliked Muslims, Arabs and Hindus.
“Hate crimes and arson are a volatile mix meant to inflict suffering and intimidation on its victims. In this case, the targets of the defendant’s hate-filled arson attack ranged from private dwellings to houses of worship and endangered the lives of those within the buildings as well as the firefighters called to respond to the scene,” said DA Brown. “As such the sentence imposed by the Court is more than warranted.”