Ray Lengend, Alleged Racist Fire-Bomber, Hit With Hate Crime Charges For Attacks On Mosque, Hindu Temple
In what appear to be actual hate crimes, a Queens man has been hit with a 36-count indictment alleging that he fire-bombed multiple buildings -- including a mosque and a Hindu temple -- during a New Year's Day crime spree that ended with the suspect telling investigators how much he hates Arabs, Muslims, and Hindus.
In addition to the indictment in state court, the suspect, 40-year-old Ray Lazier Lengend, also faces federal charges.
According to the indictment, Lengend stole a Buick Regal from JFK Airport and used it to drive around Queens and throw Molotov cocktails at various buildings.
Lengend's first target was a deli at 179th Street and Hillside Avenue -- which happens to be the same deli where he'd been busted trying to steal a Starbucks Frappacino and a container of milk the week prior. Lengend allegedly walked into the deli, lit a Molotov cocktail, and threw it on the floor. The fire was extinguished by employees as Lengend fled the scene in the stolen Buick.
Lengend's next stop was a home at 146-62 107th Avenue, where he tossed another fire bomb through a front bedroom window, causing a small blaze inside of the home.
Then Lengend headed to the Al-Khoei Benevolent Association, a mosque located at 89-89 Van Wyck Expressway, and threw two Molotov cocktails at the front of the building.
After leaving the mosque, Lengend went to a Hindu temple at 88-20 170th Street, where -- you guessed it -- he threw a fire bomb at the building.
Lengend hit another residence -- which was occupied at the time -- before his fire-bombing spree would come to an end.
After his arrest, Lengend told authorities that he "had planned to inflict as much damage as possible and take out as many Muslims and Arabs as possible by throwing all five bottles into the crowd from the [mosque's] balcony and made further references to his dislike of Muslims, Arabs and Hindus," according to the Queens County District Attorneys Office.
"Particularly troubling is the fact that the defendant is alleged to have been motivated by hate in at least two of the instances where he is alleged to have struck at a Muslim house of worship and attempted to strike at a second location which is a Hindu house of worship," Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown says. "Hate crimes - whether they be motivated by religion, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender - will not be tolerated here in Queens, the country's most diverse county."
Lengend's been charged with various counts of arson as a hate crime, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child, and other charges. If convicted of the top count of first-degree arson as a hate crime, Lengend lookin' at 25 years to life in prison.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in New York, delivered to your inbox.