You are reading

Two suspects arrested on hate crime charges for anti-Asian attack in Corona: NYPD

(Photos: NYPD and Unsplash)

The police have arrested two suspects wanted for an alleged racially motivated attack on a woman and her son in Corona last week (Photos: NYPD and Unsplash)

March 7, 2023 By Michael Dorgan

Police have arrested two suspects wanted for an alleged racially motivated attack on a woman and her son in Corona last week.

The two suspects — Natalie Plaza, 18, and Elijah Fernandez, 21 – were picked up by police on Monday, March 6, on hate crime charges for the alleged beat down of the two victims, who are of Filipino heritage.

Plaza, of 110th Street in Richmond Hill, has been charged with assault in the third degree as a hate crime and assault for the March 2 attack on Elmhurst residents Cecille Lai, 44, and her son Kyle Lai, 24, according to police.

Fernandez, of 107th Avenue in Ozone Park, has been charged with two counts of assault in the third degree as a hate crime and assault. A third suspect in the case is still at large.

Police say that the trio got out of a white Acura SUV near the Junction Boulevard subway station at around 2:30 p.m. before kicking and punching the victims in the head.

During the attack, Plaza also threw water at Cecille Lai and one of the suspects yelled out “ugly Asian,” according to police.

The victims were transported to area hospitals in the immediate aftermath of the incident where they were treated for head injuries, according to the NYPD.

Cecille Lai suffered a concussion, scratches to her eye, and bruising on her body, according to ABC7 News. Her son suffered a skull fracture.

They have both since been released from the hospital, police said.


The alleged assaults drew condemnation from a group of six Queens lawmakers yesterday, March 6.

The legislators — U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, state Senators Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos, Assembly members Steven Raga and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, as well as City Councilman Shekar Krishnan — issued a joint statement denouncing the suspects for their “utterly reprehensible” beat down of the two victims.

“We condemn this heinous act of xenophobia and violence,” the lawmakers said in a statement. “The incident involved the use of explicit anti-Asian slurs and physical violence, which is utterly reprehensible.”

The elected officials said they were deeply saddened and concerned to learn about what happened to the pair, and they vowed to stand up against such hate-filled acts.

The incident is being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Queens’ 104th Precinct teams up with DSNY to relocate parked cars in effort to keep streets clean

With an initiative to keep the streets safe and cleaner, the NYPD’s 104th Precinct is working with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to relocate abandoned vehicles in Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood.

According to Deputy Inspector Kevin Coleman, the commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, the sanitation department was having trouble removing garbage, with parked cars often getting in the way.

‘Experience still matters’: Former northeast Queens politician Tony Avella launches campaign for District 19 City Council seat

Former Queens City Council member Tony Avella is once again running for his old Council seat in District 19 for the 2023 election. If he ends up winning the Democratic primary on June 27, he will presumably face off against sitting Councilwoman Vickie Paladino.

“I’m always a local guy,” Avella said. “I started out as a community activist. The City Council deals with local issues and that’s what most people are concerned about. I think I can be of help to my community.”

NYC School Construction Authority breaks ground on new addition for P.S. 26 in Fresh Meadows

NYC School Construction Authority (SCA) officials were joined by elected officials, educators and community leaders on Monday, March 20, to celebrate the construction of a new state-of-the-art 399-seat addition for P.S. 29 in Fresh Meadows.

SCA President and CEO Nina Kubota, along with P.S. 26 Principal Andrew Pecorella and P.S. 224 Principal Jamie Allen, CEC representatives, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and Councilwoman Linda Lee gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony outside of P.S. 26 Rufus King School, located at 195-02 69th Ave.