A man suspected of a bloody triple murder during dinner time at a Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, is facing murder and hate crime charges, the Brooklyn district attorney announced Friday.
Arthur Martunovich, 34, is accused of walking into the Seaport Buffet Chinese restaurant in Sheepshead Bay about 5 p.m. Jan. 15 and striking three unsuspecting workers with a hammer.
District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Martunovich, who is white, was arraigned Friday on a 21-count indictment, which included charges of first-degree murder and second-degree murder as a hate crime.
“This was a violent, horrific and harrowing attack on three completely innocent, hardworking men who were targeted simply because they were Asian,” Gonzalez said in a statement.
Police said that Martunovich entered Seaport Buffet and bludgeoned the restaurant owner, Kheong Ng-Thang, 60, before moving toward the restaurant’s buffet, where he swung a hammer at part-owner Tzu Pun, 50. Then he went into the kitchen and attacked chef Fufai Pun, 34, according to police.
Gonzalez said that Martunovich allegedly told a Latino restaurant employee that he wouldn’t hurt him because of his race and went on to strike the Asian victims repeatedly in the head.
Francisco Sales, a dishwasher at the restaurant, told the New York Daily News that Martunovich told him: “I don’t have a problem with the Hispanics, but with the Chinese.”
Fufai Pun, the nephew of Tzu Pun, was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after the attack. Ng, who owned Seaport Buffet, died in the hospital three days later. Tsz Pun, who remained in critical condition for more than a week, died Jan. 24. All three died of blunt force injuries to the head.
Shortly after the attack, police found Martunovich two blocks away from the restaurant. According to police, he told officers that his attack was motivated by a movie he watched in which Asian men mistreated Asian women.
At a news conference at the restaurant last week, city officials called on Gonzalez to investigate Martunovich’s attack as a hate crime, urging him to add related charges to the indictment.
Tsang Tsang, a representative of the victims’ families, said during the conference that the families could “release their anger” by seeking justice, according to Kings County Politics.
“I believe that they want the attacker to be prosecuted because that is a way for them to release their anger. Of course, they want justice,” she said.