Police said that the incident took place at the intersection of 11th Avenue and 56th Street at 6:20 PM. A 64 year old man, a 55 year old man and a six year old boy were crossing at the intersection when a 2007 Honda Odyssey reversed direction, striking all three before leaving the scene.
After being contacted by victims’ relatives just before 11 PM, Shmira responded to the accident scene and began reviewing security cameras from nearby homes, which appeared to show that the driver of the van deliberately targeted his victims.
The footage shows the minivan backing up on 56th Street past a parked school bus and towards the 11th Avenue intersection, waiting for a car to pass before continuing in reverse and heading straight for the three victims who were standing near the sidewalk in front of a parked car.
Reviewing additional surveillance footage, Shmira members were able to follow the van’s progress locating the vehicle at approximately 2 AM parked in front of 1027 58th Street.
“We confirmed that we had identified the correct vehicle and then brought 12 of our own cars onto the block and waited for the driver to show up,” Levi Leifer, director of Shmira, told VIN News. “He came outside at 8:24 in the morning and we called police who came quickly and apprehended him.”
The driver, 27 year old Juan Paulino of Sunset Park, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force reviewed the incident and determined that it was not bias related.
Paulino was previously arrested on at least one other occasion, and was charged with assault in 2007 for assault after throwing a glass bottle that struck another individual.