Worker in custody after Gulf fight

An officer talks to a man outside the Long Island City Gulf gas station, where an assault occurred that left one man dead. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

The family of a 28-year-old Flushing man, who died in a fight with a Long Island City gas station attendant last Thursday, disputed the owner’s contention that his worker was defending himself.

“The gas attendant could have handled it many other ways,” said a family member of Oscar Arzeno who declined to be identified.

Police received a 911 call at around 6 a.m. last Thursday morning about an assault at the Gulf station, at 53-26 Van Dam St., authorities said. When the officers got to the scene, they saw Arzeno, of Franklin Avenue and Saull Street, lying unconscious and unresponsive on the pavement of Van Dam Street, police said.

An employee, who the gas station owner Jervail Singh identified as his 28-year-old nephew Jesse Singh, is currently in custody. Jesse Singh had not been charged with any crime as of Tuesday afternoon.

Arzeno was later taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

“He was protecting himself,” said 40-year-old P.J. Pecorino, a friend of Singh’s. “I’m sorry the guy died.”

The medical examiner’s office ruled Arzeno’s death a homicide from compression of the neck.

Jervail Singh, who has owned the Gulf station for 23 years and has been in the business for 30 years, said he had heard the incident occurred when Arzeno came to the station drunk around 4:30 a.m. and tried to get some money out of the ATM. When it would not disperse money, Arzeno argued with Jesse Singh, who was working early last Thursday morning.

Arzeno then went outside near the pumps and began chasing away the customers, Jervail Singh said. According to the gas station owner, the confrontation started when Jesse Singh went out to help a customer at one of the pump stations and Arzeno punched him. Jesse Singh fought back. At one point Arzeno ripped out a pump hose and tried to hit him with it. The fight spilled out into the street until Arzeno fell down, Jervail Singh said.

“This is 100 percent self-defense,” Jervail Singh said. “My guy never had no record all his life.”

Arzeno’s family member said that from the surveillance video it looked like Jesse Singh continued to attack even after the initial blow and it seemed as if Jesse Singh ran after Arzeno and attempted to strangle him.

“At that point, my cousin now becomes the victim,” the relative said.

Arzeno’s family member said he had an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son and that he had planned to move to Florida to marry his fiancée soon.

“Oscar was a very honest person,” the relative said. “He was a very family-oriented person.”

The relative said the family had heard Jesse Singh had assaulted an ex-co-worker. The Queens district attorney’s office had no record of any criminal complaints for Jesse Singh.

Raj Kumar, 41, another employee, said Jesse Singh never had an incident at the gas station.

“I see him all the time working hard here,” Kumar said. “It’s not an easy job.”

Arzeno’s family member said the family wants justice for his death and called Jesse Singh “a killer.”

“There’s a limit that you don’t cross, and he crossed it,” the relative said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 3:50 am, September 13, 2012
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Liar from Kew Gardens via VPN says:
I don't believe a white person would insinuate such a foreboding ad hominem *This dirt bag should rot in jail for chasing down and beating a man to death. jesus chris please show this man justice.*. The only crime that I see here is a crack dealer getting a taste of his own medicine by attacking a hard working man. Most people are asleep at this time of the night yet this gas attendant was working hard trying to create his own American dream. If the ADA has any sense in his matter, she/he will NOT press any charges, for the press she/he receives will be of antagonistic nature; the career ending type.
March 25, 2014, 12:41 am
Hue G Rection from Mother's says:
Yeah, okay, "white America." You wish to be be white
Sept. 16, 2014, 1:56 pm
Edwards from Brooklyn says:
this was murder..he chased the young man after landing serious blows and clearly it was Arzeno who became fearful for his life. Singh used excessive force and just wanted to show off his kickboxing skills, maybe honestly not expecting to kill him
Dec. 9, 2014, 8:31 am
Sunny from Queens says:
What is wrong with you people? Do you have any common sense or morality? When someone throws an attack at you at 4:30am, you have every right to defend yourself and incapacitate the attacker. Sadly in this instance, it ended in the attackers death. You don't "hold back on your strikes" or hope that the attacker who ran across the street won't come back with his friends and a gun and weapons etc. you incapacitate the attacker to the best of your ability, and if anyone is there / willing to help - call the authorities. In the heat of the moment, i would have used my martial arts training to do the same thing - even if the attacker started jogging away. There is no guarantee he wasn't jogging to grab (another) weapon after he tried using the gas station hose as his first weapon. The commenters above no nothing about street self defence and are should be ashamed of themselves for suggesting that the innocent gas station attendant working his a** off all night long to make minimum wage is guilty for protecting his life against a violent assailant.
April 5, 2015, 12:58 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group