A Chinese food delivery worker described by loved ones as a hardworking father was fatally shot in Queens on Saturday night.
Zhiwen Yan, 45, was making a delivery near 108th St. and 67th Dr. in the neighborhood of Forest Hills at around 9:30 p.m. when a man began firing shots in his direction, according to police.
A bullet hit Yan’s chest, and he fell off his scooter. Medics brought him to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The shooter reportedly fled in a light gray or tan sedan toward Queens Blvd. As per the New York Post, police are investigating a 50-year-old customer who has several ongoing disputes with staff members at Great Wall restaurant, where Yan worked.
The customer has been accused of threatening the employees with a gun in January and vandalizing their vehicles twice. An employee claimed that after one of the incidents, the customer fled in an older model of a Lexus RX3 SUV, which was the same vehicle present during Saturday’s shooting.
Yan, who arrived in the U.S. in 2001, leaves a wife and three children — aged 2, 12 and 14 — behind. He juggled three jobs before his death.
“My husband wakes up every day and just works,” said Kunying Zhao, who also goes by Eva, told the New York Daily News.
Yan’s nephew, Michael, called the shooting a “brutal murder.”
“It’s unacceptable that this happened. This is a very peaceful community. This never happened, this kind of issue,” Michael told the New York Post.
A small memorial was held for Yan at Great Wall on Sunday. Residents of Forest Hill called Yan a “fixture” of the neighborhood.
“Anytime you’d pass he’d say ‘hello my friend,’” Philip Jacoby told Spectrum News NY1. “Snow, rain, hurricane he was out delivering. He was the nicest guy. Hardest-working guy in the neighborhood.”
“He was the heart of Forest Hills to so many,” Matthew Murray told FOX 5 NY. “He was the hardest worker. He was always out on Queens Boulevard, he would always say hi to you. He would say ‘Hi my friend’ to you.”
Yan’s death came less than a day after Mayor Eric Adams met with top police officials to discuss solutions to address violent incidents in the city.
Zhao set up a GoFundMe page for her husband on Sunday. So far, it has raised over $45,000.
No arrests have been made as of this writing.
Featured Image via CBS New York
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