Police said a landlord in South Jamaica, Queens used a machete to kill his tenant and then killed himself Tuesday, and neighbors said the incident stemmed from a rent dispute. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Neighbors widely knew that the owner of 111-11 143rd Street in South Jamaica, Queens wanted the tenants on the top floor and basement out of his house, due to a long-running dispute over rent. But on Tuesday, it became bloody in an apparent murder-suicide.
Police said the home owner, 62-year-old Eulith Reid, chopped his 48-year-old basement tenant Hettie Patterson in the head with a machete, killing her. He then stabbed himself in the neck and also died. They were pronounced dead in Jamaica Hospital.
"He talked to me, telling me how these people are taking advantage of the situation. He took his money out of his pension fund to buy this house a few years ago. And them for those people to come and live off of him, it's just hard," said a neighbor.
When the upstairs tenant arrived home, she broke down and started screaming.
A man whose brother who also lives on the top floor said his brother was lucky to be alive.
"'Somebody's murdering her, help, help, help.' He ran downstairs and seen the landlord over her with a machete, chopping her," said the tenant's brother. "And then he turned around and started chasing him, and that is when he called the cops."
Residents on the block said the landlord told them the basement tenant owed several months' back rent and both sides went to housing court over the issue. They also said both sides were arrested recently because of the ongoing dispute and the landlord just wanted them out.
"He refused to take the rent, he told them take the money and find somewhere else and they would not do it," said a neighbor.
"It is devastating, because I have a tenant. I have issues with her, but this is the extreme. I don't know, it's just sad," said another neighbor.
Many homeowners in the neighborhood rent apartments to get a little extra money, but some locals said they refuse to do it and that this bloody incident is an example why.
"Just a heartbreaking situation for both families," said a local.