Flushing woman brain dead after violent purse snatching

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Police arrested an alleged purse snatcher who punched a woman so hard in Flushing over the weekend she is now brain dead, police and the Queens district attorney said.

Brian Rodriguez, 35, was arrested Sunday afternoon and charged with robbery and two counts of assault, according to a criminal complaint filed by the DA.

At about 1 a.m. Saturday, a woman named Hai Yan Yang was walking in front of 144-31 41st Ave. in Flushing when a hooded Rodriguez approached her from behind, according the criminal complaint, which relied on surveillance footage that captured the scene.

Yang was carrying a pocketbook, and Rodriguez punched her in the side of her head, causing her to fall on the ground, and then swiped her property, according to the complaint.

Yang was taken to Flushing Hospital and then transferred to a neurological intensive care unit at North Shore-LIJ, according to the complaint.

A doctor there informed police that the woman’s injuries were “not compatible to sustain life.”

She was later pronounced brain dead, according to police sources.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 11:24 pm, October 24, 2012
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Reader feedback

jason from whitestone says:
This Brian Rodriguez is a real winner!!!!! Someones sister mother aunt is now brain dead. He is another Parolee supervised in Nassau Cty. for Robbery. Never let this guy set foot outside of a jail. Put him in the cell with NCPD cop killer Darrell Fuller and let them both rot in an prison upstate!!!!!!
Oct. 24, 2012, 7:44 pm
George from Flushing says:
Man, I live close to here, that sucks. She was just walking home to her family and a monster killed her. More reason to appreciate every living moment we have with our loved ones.

Sorry, I reported the previous poster by accident.
Oct. 24, 2012, 9:46 pm
Cleo from College Point says:
Did Brian Rodriguez also live in the vicinity of the attack?
Nov. 5, 2012, 12:46 pm
Dee from Flushing says:
this is so sad... thats someones mother. now shes brain dead? how are you 35 snatching purses
Nov. 18, 2012, 5:03 am

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