A man being investigated in connection with the fatal shooting of a Chinese food delivery worker in Queens on Saturday has had a series of “increasingly disturbing encounters” in the deceased’s workplace since late last year, according to the restaurant’s owner.
Zhiwen Yan, 45, was shot to death on Saturday night while making a delivery near 108th St. and 67th Dr. in Forest Hills. Surveillance video shows the moment shots were fired.
Yan, who leaves a wife and three children, worked at Great Wall restaurant on Queens Boulevard. Police are reportedly looking into a 50-year-old customer who has been involved in disputes with staff members.
Speaking to the New York Post, owner Kai Yang, 53, revealed that the customer in question had a fit of rage over duck sauce late last year. That incident allegedly sparked a series of “increasingly disturbing encounters.”
“In November, he came in to pick up his order. We have duck sauce out, serve yourself,” Yang said through an interpreter, according to the Post. “He takes all of it, full bin, entire bin. He takes his order and leaves. He came back and says, angry, ‘I need more duck sauce.’ I say, ‘OK, OK, it’s here. Help yourself.’
“I give him more. He say, ‘No, I want my money back,’” Yang continued. “I say, ‘Sorry, it’s COVID, I can’t take your order back after, and I give you more duck sauce.’ He calls police! They came. They ask me if I can refund his money. I say, ‘No, I can not.’”
After the incident, Yang said his Honda CRV ended up getting slashed three times. On Jan. 28, restaurant staff spotted the customer damaging the vehicle.
Yang said he called out the customer, who then pulled out a gun. A group of employees — which included Yan — tackled him to the ground.
Yang said he has since phoned the police “so many times” about the customer, but the latter has never been charged. Tracing the customer’s license plate number led authorities to a nearby resident with 10 arrests between 1995 and 2012, one of which involved a robbery with a gun.
Neighbors of the customer described him as someone who kept to himself and always seemed to be in a rush. “Not friendly,” one told the New York Daily News.
A GoFundMe page set up by Yan’s wife, Kunying Zhao, has raised $120,000. A separate fundraiser organized by Forest Hills mother Frances Kweller has also collected $137,000.
Investigation into the case continues. So far, the customer in question has not been officially identified as a suspect or a person of interest.
Image: CBS New York; Kunying Zhao