Grandfather in NYC killed by man who randomly fired from scooter, police say

Hamod Ali Saeidi, 87, was fatally shot in Queens on Saturday morning. MUST CREDIT: Family photo

For years, Hamod Ali Saeidi walked 15 blocks to a New York City mosque for Dhuhr, the second of Islam’s five daily prayers.

On the walks to and from prayer, he would get calls from his wife checking on him. Saeidi, 87, loved to walk in the city, his grandson said – to the mosque, to visit with friends, to get fresh air on the streets surrounding his Queens home – and he always answered his wife’s calls to tell her where he was.

But when his wife called on Saturday, Saeidi didn’t answer.

On his way to the mosque around 11:30 a.m., Saeidi was fatally shot in the back by a man riding by on a scooter, police said.

The fatal shooting was one in a string that morning in Brooklyn and Queens, New York Police Department officials said. During a roughly half-hour period on Saturday, a gunman riding a scooter fired at people in six separate shootings, killing Saeidi and wounding three others, police said.

On Sunday, Thomas Abreu, 25, was arrested to face one charge of murder, two counts of attempted murder and six counts of criminal possession of a weapon, police said. Officials have not determined a motive, but the acts appear random based on the victims’ demographics, NYPD Assistant Chief Joseph Kenny said in a news conference Saturday.

Saeidi was a humble, caring person who could make anyone laugh, said his grandson, Waseem Saeidi. He said his grandfather hadn’t wanted a car, preferring to get around by foot.

“He loves walking,” said Waseem Saeidi, 38. “And it’s just the wrong place at the wrong time.”

He said if his grandfather were still alive, he would’ve forgiven the gunman.

“But, honestly, me – I do not forgive this person,” he said. “I need justice.”

The attacks began around 11:10 a.m. in Brooklyn, officials said in a news conference on Saturday. The gunman came from behind and shot a 21-year-old man once in the left shoulder. The shooter was riding a scooter without a license plate, according to police.

About 17 minutes later, Saeidi was fatally shot in Queens. Witnesses told police the perpetrator was a man on a scooter who had also fired at a nail salon in the area.

While at the scene where Saeidi was shot, officers were told of another incident involving a man on a scooter shooting toward a group of people at a nearby intersection on Jamaica Avenue, police said.

Around 11:35 a.m., a 44-year-old man was shot once in the face after the gunman had fled north, according to police. They said on Saturday that the victim was in critical condition.

A minute later, the gunman shot toward another man in the area but missed, police said.

The following minute, a 63-year-old man was shot in his shoulder. Witnesses again described a man on a scooter as the perpetrator, according to police.

At the scenes of most of the incidents, police found spent 9mm casings, according to Kenny. During the investigation, police recovered video of the gunman and sent images to all NYPD officers. Abreu was taken into custody around 1:10 p.m., police said. A scooter and a 9mm semiautomatic pistol were taken from the scene, according to Kenny.

He added on Saturday that the investigation is ongoing. Police identified Saeidi as the victim who died but have not identified any of the three people who were wounded.

On Sunday, hundreds gathered at a community center in the Bronx to remember Saeidi, a father of six, Waseem Saeidi said.

The 87-year-old had immigrated to the United States from Yemen. In the 1970s, he moved to New York, where he bought real estate and ran businesses to support his family.

Saeidi was dedicated to taking care of those in his family and community alike, Waseem Saeidi said.

He recalled when his grandfather bought him his first bike when he was a teenager in 1997. He had ridden the bike to a pizza shop and ran in to buy two slices. But when he came back out, his bike was gone.

He said he thought his grandfather would be angry about his leaving a brand-new bike outside. Instead, Saeidi comforted the boy. And two days later, he received a new bike – a black and orange Mongoose.

The Saeidi family had planned to take a trip to Yemen this month. They wanted to spend time together back home, after years had passed since their last visit.

Instead, Waseem Saeidi, his father and his cousins have canceled the trip.

“It’s impossible to see our country without our grandfather,” he said.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here