Hwang Yang, a 26-year-old Riverdale resident, was fatally shot on West 232nd Street just after midnight Thursday morning, as he was returning to his Johnson Avenue home from his job as a chef at The Modern restaurant in Manhattan, police and sources said.
Mr. Yang, who lived with his family at 3261 Johnson Ave., was walking up the hill from the No. 1 train when police said a thief targeted him for his iPhone. They said a struggle ensued between Riverdale and Cambridge avenues, at around 12:30 a.m. Witnesses however, said they heard a single gunshot but no commotion.
Police are still investigating and have not made any arrests. On Friday morning, a resident called police after a small gold-colored bullet shell was found on the sidewalk about 40 feet downhill from the spot where Mr. Yang was shot.
The bullet was fired from a .380 caliber pistol cartridge, police said. It is not clear if it could be traced to a specific gun.
Ji Park, a friend of the victim's family, said Mr. Yang came from Seoul, South Korea and got his Green Card about two years ago. Speaking to the press inside Aladdin Cleaners, at 3258 Johsnon Ave. where Mr. Yang’s uncle works, she said Mr. Yang attended culinary school in Manhattan before becoming a chef and was known as hardworking and self-reliant.
Mr. Yang's cousin, Peter Han, described the young cook as a "good kid" who worked hard to hone his craft.
"He wanted to go back out to Korea and be a chef out there," Mr. Han said. He added that Mr. Yang, a graduate of the David A. Stein Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy, usually got driven home from the No. 1 train station by his parents, who worried that the walk up West 232nd Street might be unsafe.
Jooeun Suh, a friend of Mr. Yang's who placed flowers on the block where he died, said she remembered her high school friend being popular and affable.
"He has a lot of friends, he’s talkative ... in high school he was quiet, but among Korean friends he was really popular. Most girls and most guys in [Riverdale's] Korean community know him.”
Minutes after Mr. Yang's grieving family arrived at his home, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale Rabbi Avi Weiss, came to console Mr. Yang's parents and siblings.
"Such grief," he said. "We are right down the block so we are one family ... God should be with them.”