Rally held for victims of hammer attack at Brooklyn restaurant

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, January 25, 2019
Rally held for victims of hammer attack at Brooklyn restaurant
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Naveen Dhaliwal reports on the rally held for victims of the hammer attack at a Brooklyn restaurant.

SHEEPSHEAD BAY, Brooklyn (WABC) -- New York City officials held a community rally in Brooklyn Friday, uniting to "support the Asian-American community during this difficult time" after three people were killed in a seemingly random hammer attack inside a restaurant.

City Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Chaim Deutsch hosted the event in front of the Seaport Buffet on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay.

"Let's be clear, this was a racial hate crime, plain and simple," Chin said. "I call upon our District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to prosecute these murders as a hate crime."

Members of the victims' families were in attendance and said they are struggling with the loss of a loved one, and because their primary sources of income are no more.

One of the victims, 34-year-old chef Fufai Pun, was the father of a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old and had just bought a house.

"When someone attacks one New Yorker, they're attacking all New Yorkers," Deutsch said.

Police say 34-year-old Arthur Martunovich walked into Seaport Buffet shortly after 5 p.m. on January 15 and began attacking unsuspecting victims with a hammer, sending customers and workers fleeing for their lives.

Pun was killed in the initial attack. while the restaurant's manager, 50-year-old Tsz Mat Pun, and the owner, 60-year-old Kheong Ng-Thang, were critically injured.

Ng-Thang died three days after the attack. Officials announced Mat Pun's death on Thursday.

The suspect remains hospitalized in the psychiatric ward at Kings County Hospital and is not expected in court in the near future.

Martunovich, of Brooklyn, was taken into custody on 19th Street and Emmons Avenue, about two blocks from the restaurant. A hammer was recovered at the scene.

He is facing murder, attempted murder and weapons charges.

Martunovich was reportedly making statements upon his arrest indicating he was emotionally disturbed. He is not believed to have a connection to the restaurant, although he lives a few blocks away.

While this is Martunovich's first arrest, he was investigated in connection to a prior assault in 2016 but never charged. He was also reported as a victim of assaults in 2016 and 2004.

No arrests were made in either case.

Investigators said it appears to have been an unprovoked attack.


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