A 39-year-old New York ramen chef has been charged with manslaughter after he attacked an Uber driver with a hockey stick, police say.
Kohji Kosugi, who lives in New York’s East Village, was charged with manslaughter on Monday morning in connection to the death of Randolph Tolk, 68.
Tolk died early Sunday morning after a confrontation in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, where police say Kosugi, a pedestrian, struck him with a hockey stick.
Officials say they have surveillance footage of the deadly attack, according to court papers.
Kohji Kosugi, who lives in New York’s East Village, was charged with manslaughter on Monday morning in connection to the death of Randolph Tolk, 68
Tolk died early Sunday morning after a confrontation in Chelsea, where police say Kosugi (right), a pedestrian, struck him with a hockey stick
Randolph Tolk, 68, (left) died early Sunday after the confrontation in New York’s Chealsea neighborhood, where police say Kohji Kosugi, 39, (right) attacked him with a hockey stick
Bail for Kosugi, who has a medical degree but works at the ramen restaurant, Nakamura NYC on the Lower East Side, was set at $500,000 cash or $750,000 bond.
Tolk, from West New York, New Jersey, was driving south late Saturday night when he stopped at an intersection near Chelsea Piers, which contains an ice skating rink.
Kosugi played back-to-back games at Chelsea Piers Saturday night – one at 8.30pm and one at 10pm – just hours before the fatal incident.
The recreational hockey player scored two goals in the first game, a teammate told the New York Post.
The teammate described Kosugi, a center, as ‘not a superstar’ and ‘hard working, good at both ends of the rink’.
Police say that Kosugi approached Tolk’s Toyota Camry on foot and began banging on his hood with a hockey stick.
Police say Tolk was stopped at this cross walk when Kosugi, crossing the street, banged on his car with a hockey stick and struck him when he got out. Chelsea Piers is seen right
Tolk got out of his car and confronted Kosugi, who then knocked the grandfather of three down with the hockey stick and continued to strike him while he was down, according to police.
The driver managed to get back in his car, and continued south for about half a mile, until his car struck the center median.
Kosugi claims to be a doctor, but is not licensed to practice medicine in New York
A witness to the attack also saw the crash and immediately called 911.
Paramedics rushed Tolk to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12.40am Sunday.
It’s unclear whether Tolk died from injuries sustained in the crash or in the hockey stick attack.
Uber said he was off-duty at the time of the attack.
‘The attacker is a coward and should be in jail, beating and elderly man with a hockey stick is unforgivable,’ NY Federation of Taxi Drivers spokesperson Fernando Mateo told Pix11.
‘We don’t know the cause of death but we are sure it is related to the blow that knocked him to the ground.’
Kosugi fled the scene on foot into Chelsea, police say, but was arrested around 2.40pm on Sunday.
As homicide detectives hauled Kosugi out of the 10th Precinct in handcuffs, with a hooded jacket pulled low over his face, he did not respond to shouted questions from reporters
Tolk was born in Brooklyn and previously worked in the garment industry, inspecting women’s sweaters before they were shipped to retailers like Walmart and Target, his son told the New York Times.
He had borrowed a car to work for Uber, a job he hated but which allowed him to remain in New York, a city he loved, the son said.
Kosugi claims on LinkedIn to be a doctor, but is not licensed to practice medicine in the state of New York.
He was charged with manslaughter in the incident.
As he was hauled out of the 10th Precinct in handcuffs, with a hooded jacket pulled low over his face, Kosugi did not respond to shouted questions from reporters.
His wife, Dr Janine Cochol has declined to comment on the case.
It is unclear if Kosugi will be released from custody before his next court appearance, on November 17.