An argument over a parking spot turned violent on Monday, after an angry Queens driver attempted to run over his adversaries and ended up plowing through the window of a brand new bakery, police said.
At least four people were injured in the road rage assault, which happened on Kissena Boulevard near Flushing’s Main Street just after 5 p.m., according to an NYPD spokesperson.
Surveillance and bystander video shared with Gothamist shows a curbside brawl between four men that broke out over the coveted parking spot. One of the assailants can be seen swinging a baseball bat at another man, who police identified as 24-year-old Jie Zou.
Zou then got into his Audi A6 and attempted to run over the bat-wielding man and his friend, according to police and witnesses. In the process, he jumped the curb and plunged through the window of Rainbow Bakery, which was celebrating its grand opening on Monday.
Three women and a man were hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries, police said. Zou was charged with assault and reckless endangerment. The passenger in his car, 35-year-old Jonathan Zhang, was also charged with assault, police said.
Rainbow Bakery owner John Lo told CBS2 that one of his employees was struck by a shard of glass, and most of his new merchandise was damaged. “I’m so sad,” he told the outlet. “It’s unbelievable.”
At least four people were injured in an apparent road rage incident that ended with a driver smashing through the front of a Queens bakery that was marking its grand opening today.https://t.co/HlhQSrwWL5 pic.twitter.com/jR5FuaROxC
— Curb Jumping NYC (@CurbJumpingNYC) November 17, 2020
For some Queens parking devotees, the motorist-on-motorist violence is just a preview of the NIMBY backlash expected under a citywide plan to to install a .3 mile busway along the clogged corridor between Northern Boulevard and Sanford Avenue.
“What happened yesterday is a little appetizer of what’s going to happen, but even worse,” Andy Chen, a driver and activist with Asian American Community Empowerment, told Gothamist. “The [Department of Transportation] and Mayor’s Office bears responsibility for what actually happened.”
The city’s busway project, which has the backing of many Flushing residents and business leaders, is expected to improve trips for about 150,000 daily riders.
But opponents have mounted a full-scale attack on the street redesign, claiming the busway will harm small businesses. This summer, City Councilman Peter Koo was forced to apologize, after chanting “BLM! Business Lives Matter!” in protest of the busway.
There will be no parking loss on the busway corridor, according to the DOT, and restrictions will still permit local access for private vehicles.
In response to a lawsuit, a judge issued a temporary restraining order on the busway last week. A final decision is expected next month.