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Far Rockaway Man Killed in Sidewalk Hit and Run

An innocent disabled man is deceased after an argument between two women in Far Rockaway led to one attempting to use her car as a weapon. The driver was arrested on Monday.

The community is remembering Milton Storch, a 59-year-old man who had mobility issues and would frequently visit the Rohan Deli, where he was killed on the morning of Saturday, August 27.

Kiani Phoenix, 26, has been charged with murder and other crimes for allegedly driving her car onto the sidewalk and fatally striking Storch and another pedestrian outside the Far Rockaway store. The defendant allegedly intended to strike a woman with whom she had a dispute and drove onto the Beach 20th Street sidewalk where the victim was sitting on his walker. The defendant then backed up, allegedly hit another pedestrian, and sped away from the scene of the incident, according to a press release from Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. The incident was also caught on security footage.

District Attorney Katz said, “As alleged, this defendant is accused of killing an innocent man on the sidewalk and injuring another victim in an attempt to harm someone else with her vehicle following a heated argument. The alleged criminal actions of this defendant resulted in fatal consequences, and she will now face justice in our courts.”

Phoenix, of Far Rockaway, was arraigned on Tuesday night before Queens Criminal

Court Judge Jessica Earle-Gargan on a complaint charging her with murder in the second degree, attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the second degree, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. Judge Earle-Gargan ordered the defendant to return to Court on September 21. If convicted, Phoenix faces 25 years-to-life in prison.

According to the charges, on Saturday, August 27, 2022, at approximately 7:00 a.m., the defendant encountered the first victim, a 27-year-old woman at a convenience store on Beach 20th Street near New Haven Avenue in Far Rockaway. The two women argued and became embroiled in a physical altercation outside the convenience store near a parked Honda Accord.  Several onlookers watched the women including second victim Milton Storch, seated on his walker with his back against the deli wall. Several onlookers attempted to separate the women and they stopped striking one another.

As seen on video, Phoenix entered the driver’s seat of the Honda Accord, reversed the car then turned sharply to the right allegedly at and toward the first victim, accelerating forward onto the sidewalk. Several people, including the first victim, darted from the path of the car. Phoenix drove forward, striking Mr. Storch who was unable to rise from his walker. The car then stopped and accelerated in reverse hitting a 36-year-old pedestrian behind the car. The defendant then sped away from the scene of the incident.

Mr. Storch was taken to St. John’s Episcopal hospital where he was pronounced deceased. A second man was taken to the hospital and treated for back and hip injuries.

The investigation was conducted by Detective Brendan Hannon of the NYPD’s 101st Detective Squad. Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

As Storch has no known family, the Rockaway Nassau Safety Patrol, Chesed Shel Emes, Achiezer Community Center and the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula arranged a funeral service for Storch on Wednesday, August 31.

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