Days after the man accused of fatally shooting a Chinese food delivery worker in Queens, New York City, apparently shot himself dead, questions about how he managed to obtain a firearm remain unanswered.
Glenn Hirsch, 51, was reportedly found dead in his Briarwood apartment after missing a court hearing on Friday for the murder of Chinese food delivery worker Zhiwen Yan on Apr. 30. He was released on a $500,000 bail on June 27.
Police reportedly found Hirsch on a plastic-covered couch wearing rubber gloves with a gun in one hand. His radio was blaring and heard from outside.
Hirsch, who became known as the “Duck Sauce Killer,” allegedly shot Yan dead while the latter was making a delivery for Great Wall restaurant in Forest Hills. Investigators reportedly found that Hirsch had been involved in a months-long feud with the establishment’s staff, which reportedly stemmed from a duck sauce dispute last November.
Before apparently pulling the trigger on himself, Hirsch left a note that reiterated his innocence in relation to Yan’s death. He had pleaded not guilty to murder, weapon possession, menacing and other charges, according to reports.
Hirsch’s lawyer, Michael Horn, said his client was “overwhelmed” and did not look after his well-being
“He left a long note, but essentially, he became overwhelmed by the press coverage and the media attention and the rush to vilification, and he didn’t take care of his mental health, which is obviously something he needed to do, and he became depressed and suicidal,” Horn told the New York Post.
Hirsch also reportedly attempted to exonerate his wife, Dorothy Hirsch, of all accusations in his note. Dorothy, who lives separately from her husband, was arrested for weapon possession on June 3 after police found eight firearms and more than 200 rounds of ammunition in her Briarwood home.
“His letter acknowledges that he purchased the guns, they were his and maintained them in a storage unit that he closed when she got her apartment and allowed him to use the closet as storage,” Dorothy’s lawyer, Mark Bederow, told the Daily Mail. “At which point he moved the guns and other stuff in boxes and bags, and she had no idea that the guns were included in his possessions.”
“He completely exonerates her, and details why she is innocent,” Bederow added. “To continue a prosecution against her in these circumstances is unconscionable.”
Hirsch’s death effectively results in the closure of the case against him. Attorney Jennifer Wu said Yan’s family were “in shock” after hearing about the suspect’s apparent suicide but declined to provide further comment, as per The New York Times.
“The loss of a human life is always tragic. Obviously, we would have preferred to try Mr. Glenn Hirsch for the calculated murder of Mr. Zhiwen Yan in a court of law, but this is no longer an option,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “We once again express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Zhiwen Yan, who continue to grieve his tragic and senseless loss.”
However, questions about how Hirsch managed to get hold of the firearm remain. Under his bail conditions, he was to wear an ankle monitor and stay at home for 24 hours a day, save for an hour of exercise and visits to his lawyer, doctor and the court.
“How did [Glenn] get a gun? How did he still have one more gun?” Great Wall owner Ken Yang, who considers Yan as a brother, told the Post. “He could have come here and shot everybody. He lived less than a mile away from here.”
A man with two young children who reportedly live on the same floor as Hirsch is asking the same question.
“My question is how did he have a gun because they checked his place,” the man told the Post. “What is to say he wouldn’t shoot someone singing in the hallway?”
In addition to knowing why Hirsch still had a gun, Yan’s loved ones want to know the truth behind Yan’s death.
“He knew that after the trial he would go away forever,” Yang told the New York Daily News of Hirsch, who would have faced a life imprisonment sentence if convicted. “We still want to know why he killed my employee and why he wanted to kill my family.”
Yan is survived by his wife, Kunying Zhao, and their three young children. A GoFundMe page set up by Zhao has raised $221,000 as of this writing.
Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.
Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.
We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.