NEW YORK — A Queens community is on edge after a man suspected.
CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas spoke to the restaurant owner about the new impact the case is now having on his business.
It’s far from business as usual at the Great Wall Chinese restaurant in Forest Hills. This after.
“The guy is out on the bail, so they don’t come to this area a lot,” owner Ken Yang said, adding his business is hurting as a result.
Hirsch’s bail comes with conditions, including home confinement and electronic monitoring, but it provides little solace for those in his Briarwood neighborhood, who question why the judge did not instead require Hirsch to await trial behind bars.
“He can leave his apartment if he wanted to and do whatever he wants, OK? I understand that alerts people that he’s out of the vicinity, but that’s not incarceration,” resident Kyle West said.
“I have to be on guard walking in the neighborhood in case he decides to not cooperate with the court restrictions, and I know what his restrictions are and I know what he looks like,” one person said.
“We all feel, the people I speak to, that there’s something behind this, that it’s more complicated than it appears,” another person said.
Hirsch pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“The judge made a nice compromise about public safety versus the rights of an individual not convicted of a crime. Our position is that he’s not the guy who did this, that that person is still out there,” attorney Michael Horn said.
In a statement, Yan’s widow, Eva Zhao, said she is “devastated and heartbroken,” adding that she believes Hirsch “is a danger to our community and his presence … where I live and work makes me feel unsafe.”
Cline-Thomas saw police outside of the restaurant at times, but Yang wants them to have more of a consistent presence in the evening to make customers feel safe and so he doesn’t continue to lose even more than he already has.
Even though prosecutors argued for Hirsch to be held without bail, in a later statement the district attorney said bail is not meant to serve as punishment, but as a means for the defendant to return to court.