The man who stabbed and killed a Hasidic student 19 years ago in the Crown Heights race riots was stabbed in the head with an ice pick on Sunday. Some might say karma was inescapable for Lemrick Nelson, who police think was driving on the George Washington Bridge when road rage turned violent.
Nelson was found unconscious near his Chevrolet just after 2 a.m., and the weapon was found nearby. Nelson was taken to Harlem Hospital Center in stable condition, but has been sedated, and no witnesses have come forward. The injured man’s family is waiting for answers. “We won’t know the truth until he wakes up,” his sister-in-law told the Daily News.
But a spokesman for the family of Yankel Rosenbaum, the Orthodox Jew Nelson killed in the 1991 riots, had more to say. “Thou who drowns someone else, will drown,” Isaac Abraham told the Daily News. “It is now that the stabber gets stabbed. To Nelson, a crime with a knife involved is like bagel and lox.”
At any rate, an ice-pick wielding road-rager is a subset of humanity for which we cannot even fathom a metaphor. Why would someone carry one if not for violent use akin to a Hollywood plotline? The modern refrigerator does not require such dangerous tools — and it’s summer, so makeshift outdoor use would be highly unlikely…
In May, the Post reported that Nelson was living a quiet life in Hillside, New Jersey, with a woman and their toddler daughter. “I don’t drink anymore because of what happened in 1991,” Nelson told the Post. His lawyer had blamed the 1991 incident on drunkenness. “I was a kid then. I made a mistake. Kids make mistakes. I’m a man now. I’ve never been in or out of trouble. I don’t live that life,” he said.
Nelson was 16 years old when the race riots took place, spurred by Yosef Lifsh, a 22-year-old Hasidic Jew, hitting a seven-year-old Guyanese boy with his car and killing him. Nelson and others surrounded Rosenbaum, 29, an Australian doctoral student who was not involved in the incident and stabbed him. Rosenbaum identified Nelson as his killer before he died.
[via the Daily News]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 13, 2010