Teen accused of Sikh hate crime attacks stabbed dead on Brooklyn street

·2 min read

A 19-year-old man recently charged in two hate crime attacks on Sikh men was stabbed to death on a Brooklyn street, police said Friday.

Vernon Douglas was murdered Thursday night in Brownsville. Police said they do not believe the killer was someone looking to avenge the 70-year-old Sikh whose nose Douglas broke on April 3, or two other Sikhs Douglas mugged nine days later.

Douglas was released following his arrest for the attacks, both of which were in Queens. Those cases — assault as a hate crime for the first attack and robbery as a hate crime for the second — were still pending.

The teen was seen in a confrontation with another man in front of a home on Rockaway Ave. near Lott Ave. just before 9 p.m. Thursday.

Douglas was stabbed in the chest. The blade — missing a handle — was found near his body when police arrived.

Medics rushed Douglas to Brookdale Hospital but he could not be saved.

Douglas, who lived a few blocks away, was arrested April 14 for the hate crime assaults, both in Queens.

He allegedly busted Nirmal Singh’s nose as the 70-year-old victim, visiting from India, was out for a morning stroll in Richmond Hill.

On April 12, police said, Douglas and alleged accomplice Hezekiah Coleman, 20, were busted for mugging two men on Lefferts Blvd., beating them with wooden sticks, punching them, ripping the turbans from their heads then taking their money.

Efforts to reach people who knew Douglas were unsuccessful. Coleman’s case is pending.

Hate crimes across the five boroughs have steadily been on the rise, according to NYPD data.

As of last Sunday, 325 people citywide have been the victim of a hate crime this year, according to the most recent data. The figure is a 13.2% uptick from 2021, when there were 287 victims during the same timeframe.

As New Yorkers hunkered down while COVID spread across the city in 2020, cops documented 265 hate crime complaints and 93 people arrested as a result, according to statistics.

In the entirety of 2019, there were 420 hate crime complaints, 133 of which resulted in arrest.

With Harry Parker