A Chinese food delivery rider gunned down on his scooter has sent shockwaves through the small New York neighbourhood he lives in.
Yan Zhiwen, 45, was on his scooter during his shift and waiting for the light to turn green at a traffic junction in Forest Hills, Queens, on Apr. 30 when a man approached him on foot.
According to The New York Times, the man fired several shots, retreated to a car, and then drove away.
Yan was conveyed to a hospital but was later pronounced dead.
CBS News reported that by the time Yan's wife, Zhao Kun Ying, arrived at the hospital, her husband was already gone.
On Sunday, ZhiWen Yan, a delivery worker, was shot & killed in Queens. @NYPDDetectives are actively searching for the killer. In her interview, @nikreport speaks with the family & @NYPDFirstDep and provides details about the case. Any info? DM @NYPDTips, or ☎️ 800-577-TIPS. pic.twitter.com/MQBryujbNK— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) May 5, 2022
Was family's sole breadwinner
Yan leaves behind three children, the youngest of which is two years old.
He was the family's sole breadwinner, and worked several jobs seven days a week to provide for them.
One of his jobs was as a food delivery rider for a Chinese restaurant called the Great Wall, where he had worked for over 20 years.
When business was slow, Yan would help Zhao at her work at a nearby laundromat, NYT reported.
This is 45-year-old Yan Zhiwen, a hard working food delivery worker from Queens who was shot and killed at near point blank range Saturday evening. He worked at the Great Wall restaurant in Forest Hills for over a decade and leaves behind 3 children. @CBSNewYork pic.twitter.com/vIJ1nB5T1D— Christina Fan (@Christinafantv) May 1, 2022
Yan is a Chinese immigrant from Fuzhou, and NYT reported on May 1 that officials were looking into the possibility of Yan having being a target of hate crime due to his ethnicity.
Unhappy customer is person of interest
On May 2, CBS News reported that their sources shared that police are looking into a disgruntled customer as a possible person of interest.
The Chinese owner of the Great Wall, Yang Kai, revealed that the 50-year-old customer had allegedly been "seeking retribution" since November 2021, after he did not receive enough duck sauce with his order.
Additionally, the man allegedly used "racist language" when the restaurant refused to refund him and take back his meal due to Covid-19 concerns.
Since then, the man had allegedly vandalised Yang's car, and pulled a gun on him.
The Daily Mail reported that the customer had thrown the duck sauce everywhere in the restaurant.
He would also allegedly loiter outside the place and harass the staff there by waving his gun at them.
Police sources said the description Yang gave of the customer's car matched a vehicle fleeing the crime scene.
In an emotional interview with ABC7, Yan's wife, Zhao, looked distraught, and said: "Somebody, somebody killed my husband, catch him, catch him."
A friendly face in the community
Yan was a friendly face and beloved in the neighbourhood, and was recognised for his trademark greeting, "Hello, my friend!"
Since his death, tributes in the form of flowers and notes have been placed in front of his former workplace at the Great Wall.
Touching memorial in front of Great Wall for Zhiwen Yan. So many handwritten notes say “my friend.” We’re told that was a catchphrase of Yan’s as he rode around Queens 7 days a week making deliveries, always with a smile, always without complaint. pic.twitter.com/lX8gwDWkT4— Christina Fan (@Christinafantv) May 2, 2022
The police are currently working with Yan's family to give them the support they need.
New York City Council Member Julie Won also shared a message about Yan's death and expressed support for his family.
Mourning the loss of Yan Zhiwen who was shot last night. Delivery workers should not be seen as faceless or expendable, but deserving of life - long, full, happy life. (1/2)— Council Member Julie Won (@CMJulieWon) May 1, 2022
Top photo from GoFundMe and Chrstinafantv / Twitter