Man dies after being attacked with metal pipe in Queens

SUNNYSIDE GARDENS, Queens (WABC) -- A man who suffered a serious head wound when he was hit with a pipe in Queens over the weekend has died.

They lit candles and held balloons on the street corner in the shadow of the 7 train, a community bonded together in grief after Martin Quiej lost his fight for life.

"I feel so sad," said Guadelupe Serrano, the victim's wife.

Serrano is contemplating life without her 34-year-old husband, the father of her two children, who died a violent death, police say, bashed in the head by a drunken stranger.

"Trying to avoid a fight he got involved and you know he got caught at the wrong time by the situation," said Martha Munoz, the victim's cousin.

Cops say it started with a fight right next door to Quiej's party supply store at 54th Street and Roosevelt.

Two men, fought with a third, who locked himself inside the vestibule of this apartment building.

When he heard the commotion Quiej grabbed a metal rod to defend himself and walked outside to intervene.

His own surveillance cameras captured one of men, armed with his own metal pole, winding up and pummeling the innocent shopkeeper in the head.

"He came from Guatemala for a better future here; he has his own party store and now he lost everything," Munoz said.

Police quickly captured both men, though the DA's office elected to prosecute only one 21-year-old Victor Mendoza, who cops believe had been blinded by an alcohol fueled rage. There was no other motive, they say.

Now the victim's family is raising funds for a funeral after a senseless attack that robbed two kids of their father.

"This is terrible. But I feel very happy look, these people, it's mine, Latinos, Unidos," Serrano said.

Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.