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86-Year-Old Dead in Apparent Social-Distancing Dust-Up

This may be NYC's first virus-related assault case
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2020 9:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – Tensions are high in New York, considered the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak, and now the NYPD is looking into what the New York Daily News says may be the city's first social-distancing-related homicide. Cassandra Lundy, a 32-year-old seizure patient at Brooklyn's Woodhull hospital, allegedly hit 86-year-old Janie Marshall, who was there for a bowel obstruction, in the head Saturday when Marshall got too close to her in the hall around 2pm. Police sources say Marshall fell and hit her head. Lundy told police Marshall was "in my face" and "didn't stay more than 6 feet away," per the Washington Post and New York Post. Marshall died around 5:40pm. The NYPD wasn't informed of the incident, which wasn't witnessed but was caught on tape, until five hours after Marshall's death; sources tell the New York Post the delay was caused by the influx of virus patients at the hospital.

Before Marshall died, Lundy had been issued a disorderly conduct summons and escorted out of the hospital. Charges against her could be upgraded depending on the results of Marshall's autopsy and if her cause of death is ruled a homicide, law enforcement sources say. Lundy has a long rap sheet, with 17 past arrests on charges ranging from trespassing and drug possession to strangulation and assault. "You don't ever know what's going to happen to you," a neighbor of Marshall, who helped found a community garden near her Williamsburg home, tells the Daily News. "You could be walking down the hall and someone hits you in the hospital." Meanwhile, the Washington Post notes there've been "at least a few" other US assaults that appear to be tied to social distancing flare-ups. In a case out of Michigan, police say one roommate shot another one dead after such an argument. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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