Larry Celona, Erika Martinez and Cynthia R. Fagen, New York Post, April 6, 2006
The NYPD hate-crimes unit is probing a report that a white NYU student killed by a car in Harlem was fleeing a gang of black teenagers screaming “Get whitey!” sources said yesterday.
If the report proves true, the violence could turn out to be an eerie replay in reverse of the infamous 1986 Howard Beach murder, where a black man was chased into traffic and killed by a group of white bigots.
The 20-year-old student, John Broderick Hehman, died yesterday, six days after the attack.
The sources said Hehman might have been targeted as a soft mark for robbers after the teenage gang spotted the caring urban-studies major handing pocket change to a wheelchair — bound man near the corner of 125th Street and Park Avenue Saturday night.
The gang of youths, some of them as young as 11, had been smoking pot inside a nearby Popeye’s fast-food eatery at 8:30 p.m. when they spotted Hehman walking by and then stopping to help the handicapped man.
An anonymous caller later tipped the CrimeStoppers hot line that a group of youths screamed, “Get Whitey!” and ran toward him.
Witnesses said Hehman fled into traffic against the light and was hit by a Mercedes-Benz traveling east on 125th Street.