Queens man accused of yelling religious slurs, threats at men, child in Lawrence Costco
A Queens man is accused of yelling anti-Semitic slurs and threats at two men and an 11-year-old child at a Costco in Lawrence Sunday.
Police say 20-year-old Justin Pichizaca was caught on video taken by one of the victims yelling and threatening physical violence in the store on Rockaway Turnpike.
Pichizaca can be heard telling the victims, "Record all you want because a Nazi is going to kill you." The victim uploaded the video to social media, where it went viral.
Rabbi Abraham Fridman says Pichizaca also verbally attacked him inside a bathroom because he was Jewish. Fridman says the man from Queens then threatened to get a gun.
Another victim who didn't want to be identified said Pichizaca threatened him and his son inside the store because they were Jewish.
“He was threatening to shoot me,” said the victim. “I still followed him to his car, I was afraid he was going to come out with a gun, but I stood there with my phone to make sure this guy was caught.”
The videos helped lead police to Pichizaca. They arrested him Monday and he was charged with aggravated harassment and menacing as hate crimes.
According to court records, Pichizaca told detectives the outburst stemmed from one of the men allegedly hitting his mother in the foot with a cart.
"I just lost my cool when I saw the camera on me,” said Pichizaca. “I was really mad at him. I think I cursed at him, something about being a Jew."
Pichizaca doesn't have a criminal record and was released without bond. He had no comment after court.
The fact that Pichizaca was released without bond surprised came to a surprise to many.
The victim that recorded the incident said he hopes this man has learned to think twice before making any alleged threats.
“To me it’s not about the guy sitting in jail for the rest of his life,” said the victim. “I don't need that, I just need the person to understand that you have to think before you talk, and if you think you are going to get away with saying whatever you want to today, you are not going to.”
Pichizaca is due back in court in January.