Push for hate crime charges in deadly hammer attack at Brooklyn restaurant

SHEEPSHEAD BAY, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Lawmakers are renewing their push to declare hate crime charges in the hammer attack that killed three people inside a Brooklyn restaurant.

City leaders, Asian-American community leaders and some family members of the victims gathered at a news conference in Sunset Park Tuesday afternoon.

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

The restaurant's chef, 34-year old Fufai Pun, was killed in the initial attack. The restaurant's manager, 50-year-old Tsz Mat Pun, and the owner, 60-year-old Kheong Ng-Thang, were critically injured and taken to NYU Langone-Brooklyn Hospital. Both later died.

"I call it a hate crime massacre," said City Councilman Mark Treyger. "Just as I described to you how the business represents the best of America, what happened on that day represents one of the darkest parts that we have to confront and beat, in our city, our society and our country as well."

There was also a call at the news conference for tolerance and unity.

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

He is facing murder, attempted murder and weapons charges.

Investigators said it appears to have been an unprovoked attack.

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