A community in Queens, New York is mourning the death of a shop owner who was beaten with a metal pipe. Martin Quiej, 34, died on March 9, four days after the brutal attack.
Authorities said the incident happened just outside of the victim’s small business, Tauros Party Supplies.
Police said Quiej was trying to stop a fight outside the store between his co-worker and another individual at 1:45 a.m. in Woodside.
In a video, the attacker yelled anti-Mexican slurs to Quiej’s co-worker for as long as four minutes. That’s when Quiej stepped in to descalate the situation, but instead the attacker turned on him. The video then shows Quiej trying to defend himself with an object, while the attacker swinged at him with a metal pipe. The video also shows another individual that was with the attacker.
Officials said the victim sustained severe damage to his skull and bleeding in his brain. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center and was declared brain dead before his death.
Quiej, who came to New York from Guatemala 15 years ago, is survived by his widow and two children, a 4-year-old girl and 9-year-old son.
“These people who attacked him, they left his children without a provider,” said his widow Guadalupe to the New York Daily News. “They miss him so much. They ask for him,” she continued. “He was a hardworking man who dedicated himself to his family. He didn’t deserve to be attacked like this, to die like this.”
Authorities arrested Victor Mendoza, 21, shortly after the beating. Police also retrieved the weapon used by the attacker. According to the Daily News, Mendoza lives just two blocks from the victim’s home.
The Queens District Attorney’s Office said he is facing charges that include first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon. However, officials plan to upgrade the charges since the victim has died.
Police said they are searching for the second suspect who has fled, reported DNA Info.
Quiej’s family told NBC’s local station that the victim lived above the shop he owned and was working late the night of the attack editing videos for children’s parties.
Our deepest condolences to the family of Martin Quiej. We ask the community to support this family and business pic.twitter.com/Vrf3QlA8jr
— NYPD 108th Precinct (@NYPD108Pct) March 10, 2016
Hundreds of people in the community and the victim’s family members gathered for a vigil in front of where the attack took place.
“My message to that second person is to come forward.” Quiej’s cousin Martha Munoz told NBC 4, “If the family knows what he did, or the person that’s missing, bring him to justice.”
Quiej’s 9-year-old-son said: “He’s an angel right now. I want God to keep him safe right there, up there.”