Outrage after man accused of killing Chinese food delivery worker released on bail
The widow of a Chinese food delivery worker who was fatally shot is speaking out after her husband’s alleged killer was released on bail.
Glenn Hirsch, 51, was arrested in New York City on June 1 for the alleged murder of Zhiwen Yan, a Chinese food delivery worker, who was shot in the chest on April 30 while riding his scooter in the neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens.
A judge ordered Hirsch to be released to home confinement on Monday after posting $500,000 in bail.
“I am devastated and heartbroken that the person who targeted and killed my husband has been released on bail. He is a danger to our community and his presence in the community where I live and work makes me feel unsafe,” Yan’s wife, Eva Zhao, said in a statement obtained by ABC News on Tuesday. “I thank the District Attorney and the police for their efforts in obtaining and enforcing an order of protection for me, and I have faith that we will get justice for my husband, Zhiwen Yan.”
The Queens District Attorney’s Office told ABC News on Wednesday that although prosecutors “asked the court to remand the defendant without bail, the court set bail in a very substantial amount while agreeing to impose conditions we requested, including house arrest and electronic monitoring. Any violation of the terms or conditions could result in bail being revoked.”
The DA’s office added that prosecutors ensured that Hirsch was fitted with an electronic monitoring device prior to his release to home confinement.
Hirsch was arrested earlier this month and charged with 10 counts, the most serious of which is second-degree murder, as well as several counts of criminal possession of a weapon and stalking, according to charging documents obtained by ABC News.
If convicted, Hirsch could face as much as life in prison, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
“As alleged, a petty dispute over a take-out order became an obsessive point of contention for the defendant who began to stalk and harass employees at the restaurant for months,” Katz said in a statement on June 2. “The tragic end result was the murder of a hard-working employee, who left behind a devastated family and a grieving community.”
Hirsch pleaded not guilty on June 3 according to New York ABC station WABC. At the time, his attorney told reporters he believes that authorities arrested “the wrong man,” WABC reported.
ABC News has reached out to Hirsch’s attorney, Michael Horn, for additional comment.
Yan, 45, worked at a Chinese restaurant in Queens called The Great Wall for more than 20 years and had three jobs to support his wife and his young daughter, WABC reported in May.
According to prosecutors, the suspect was a customer of The Great Wall who had multiple prior disagreements with the establishment over orders, including a dispute over the amount of duck sauce he received in an order. Hirsch menaced the restaurant manager with a gun and twice vandalized vehicles owned by his staff, police told ABC News.
In one instance, Hirsch arrived at The Great Wall with a gun drawn asking “do you remember me,” and then proceeded to slash the restaurant owner’s tires, according to Katz.
A witness told police that an older model Lexus SUV fled the murder scene, the same type of vehicle driven by Hirsch.
Authorities said in May that the shooter fired several times before fleeing eastbound on 67th Drive in a gray or tan sedan.
Ahead of Hirsch’s release on bail, several New York lawmakers, including Rep. Grace Meng, issued a joint statement on Saturday opposing his potential release and calling it “terrifying and unsettling.”
“Someone who is a clear and present danger should not be released back into the community that still grieves Zhiwen Yan’s death,” the lawmakers said. “We have been in touch with the 112th Precinct to get assurances that Glenn Hirsch’s weapons have been confiscated and won’t be returned to him if bail is granted, that he won’t be able to legally purchase additional firearms, and that his movements will be closely monitored including a ban on going near the Great Wall Restaurant and its delivery zones.”
Hirsch’s wife, Dorothy Hirsch, was arrested on June 3 on weapons charges after authorities seized 8 handguns and ammunition from her home, according to charging documents obtained by ABC News.
Dorothy Hirsch, 62, was charged with several counts of unlawful possession of firearms and is out on $150,000 bail. Her attorney Mark Bederow told ABC News in a phone interview on Wednesday that she pleaded not guilty and her next court date is July 12.
“She is not guilty of knowingly possessing firearms which were found in a closet being utilized by Glenn Hirsch to store his junk in large trash bags and boxes,” Bederow said, adding that while the couple maintained separate residences, the couple was not separated and Glenn Hirsch had a closet at his wife’s apartment.
“She had no knowledge of those items being in the apartment. We believe this is a heavy-handed leverage ploy to gain her cooperation in the case against him which she had nothing to do with,” Bederow added.
Yan’s death came amid a spate of attacks and a rise in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans in New York City and across the nation.
ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.