SOUTH RICHMOND HILL, QUEENS — A 63-year-old Sikh man said he was attacked by a man brandishing a gun and demanding money on Mother’s Day morning. It is the latest in a recent string of incidents of Sikh residents being attacked in the same neighborhood.
Kuldip Singh fought off his attacker. He had bruises and bandages to show he put up a strong fight.
“He showed a gun and tell me ‘give me money,'” said Singh. “He hit my head, my nose.”
It was Sunday around 10:30 a.m. when Singh was out for a walk. He told PIX11 News that, seemingly out of nowhere, a guy approached him on a bike, showed a gun and tried to rob him.
Singh grabbed the suspect’s arm, and both fell to the ground. That’s when police said Singh was pistol-whipped. He suffered bruises and lacerations to the head, a broken nose and fractures in his right hand. The suspect was unable to get anything from him and ran off.
Harpreet Toor, with the Sikh Cultural Society, is an advocate for the community.
“Honestly, I’m happy he fought back instead of just handing over the money,” said Toor. “I know it is dangerous, but you have to draw a line somewhere.”
Since early April, there have been at least three other attacks against Sikh residents in South Richmond Hill.
On April 3, a 70-year-old man was beaten in an unprovoked attack near Lefferts Boulevard and 95th Avenue, the same location where two other men Sikh men were attacked on April 12. Two suspects have been arrested in connection with those incidents.
“We are paying the price for that just because we look different,” said Toor. “I just tell them to be on alert, but at the same time, I’m telling them not to put yourself in the closet either, if you put yourself in the closet or you close yourself, then they’ve won. And I definitely don’t want them to win.”
The victims in the previous attacks believed they may have been targeted for wearing turbans. The incidents also occurred near the building that houses the Sikh Cultural Society.
With hate crimes on the rise, the community remains on edge. Singh has lived here for 30 years and has not felt unsafe until now.
“It’s too hard now, we’re very scared,” said Singh.
The NYPD told PIX11 News the attack on Sunday was under investigation. But police have not said if it was classified as a hate crime.