A Queens Village man will be getting a long prison sentence for firebombing five occupied buildings in Jamaica – including two houses of worship – over 5 years ago.
Suraj Poonai Ray Lazier Lengend, 45, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted arson as a hate crime. He is due to return to court for sentencing on Sept. 28, where Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron, who was presiding over the ruling, indicated that he would be sentencing Lengend to 20 years in prison with five years of post-release supervision.
According to statements made by police, Lengend admitted that he planned the attacks to inflict as much damage as possible and that his goal was to take out as many Muslims and Arabs as possible. He later went on to state that he disliked Muslims, Arabs and Hindus.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said that the hateful rampage took place on New Year’s Day of 2012. First, Lengend threw a Molotov cocktail at a Hindu house of worship within a private residence on 170th Street in Jamaica, causing a fire on the front lawn. Lengend also admitted to throwing gasoline-filled bottles into a private residence on 43rd Avenue, which had people inside.
Following that attack, Lengend drove to a deli located at 179th Street and Hillside Avenue, where he ignited a glass bottle containing gasoline and threw it inside the store. The Molotov cocktail broke when it hit the floor, spreading fire into the building.
At that time, according to court records, Lengend drove to a house on 107th Avenue and through yet another flammable device through the front bedroom window. The fire caused damage to the interior and exterior of the home.
Finally, Lengend threw a Molotov cocktail that the exterior of Al-Khoei Benevolent Association, a mosque located at 89-89 Van Wyck Expwy. The resulting fire caused damage to the mosque’s exterior.
Cops arrested Lengend two nights later; he would later be indicted on federal and state hate crime charges.
“In a single night, this individual filled glass bottles with gasoline to make crude molotov cocktails and then tossed them at five buildings,” Brown said. “His targets ranged from private dwellings to houses of worship – endangering those within the buildings as well as the firefighters called to respond to the scene. This kind of intolerance and hate will not be tolerated in Queens.”