Volume 74, Number 45 | March 16 - 22, 2005

Villager photos by Bob Arihood

Above, an injured firefighter is wheeled out of Masaryk Towers on March 16 after battling a fire caused by a gas explosion, as smoke streamed out of an apartment window at 87 Columbia St, right.

Triple killing, explosion at Masaryk Towers

A resident of Masaryk Towers on the Lower East Side last week slashed and shot his wife and her nephew and then shot his son to death before igniting a gas explosion in their 21st-floor apartment where he and a niece were burned to death.

The suspect, Lun Bao Zhang, 44, began quarreling violently with his wife, Chou Ying Chan, 43, when she came home to their apartment at 87 Columbia St. at about 8 p.m. March 16 with her nephew, Da Cheng Chan, 29, and her son, Jin Jie Ya, 19, according to police.

Zhang began firing a .22-caliber revolver, hitting the 29-year-old nephew twice before the nephew fled the apartment, then hitting his son twice in the torso and hitting his wife on the left side before slashing her in the head, police said. When Chou Ying Chan failed to rouse her son, she too fled the apartment where her niece, Xao Ying Chan, 27, was hiding in another room. The suspect then ignited the explosion in which he and the niece died of burns and smoke inhalation, according to the Medical Examiner’s office.

The son died of the gunshot wounds; his death and Xao Ying Chan’s death were ruled homicides and the suspect’s death was a suicide, the Medical Examiner said.

Newspaper reports described Zhang and his wife as vendors on Canal St.

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