BY TRONE DOWD
The 69-year-old grandmother who was sucker punched outside of a deli in Jamaica four months ago died last Saturday, police said.
The elderly woman, Eve Gentillon, was walking home from church on Oct. 15 when 28-year-old Richard Springer was leaving the Sutphin King Deli, located on Sutphin Boulevard and 108th Avenue. Springer was exiting the deli after a brief confrontation with the 18-year-old employee over the price of a beer. After allegedly punching the employee, Springer stormed out and is accused of cold cocking Gentillon, who had stopped in front of the store.
Gentillon was knocked unconscious, falling back and bashing her head against the concrete.
She suffered a severe head injury, which kept her hospitalized ever since the incident.
According to a spokeswoman with the city Medical Examiner’s Office, Gentillon died of “complications of a traumatic brain injury due to blunt impact.”
In November, the PRESS of Southeast Queens reported that police had arrested Springer 16 days after the attack. Springer, who had 13 prior arrests, was said to have been keeping a low profile in the neighborhood. Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) led the effort to get in touch with city Police Commissioner James O’Neill and Patrol Borough Queens South Assistant Chief David Barrere in order to voice community concern over the deadly attack.
The last update the PRESS of Southeast Queens received on Gentillon’s health was from Wills, who said her sustained injuries were “serious” and that she would need “all of the expertise of the doctors and those tending to her at the hospital as well as all the prayers from everybody in our community.”
Originally charged with robbery and assault, Springer is set to return to court on March 3. On Tuesday, her death was ruled a homicide and the defendant is likely to face additional charges.
“It’s a complete tragedy,” community civic leader Kevin Livingston told the Press of Southeast Queens. “My prayers and my love goes out to the family. We have to address mental health in our community on a continuous basis. It shouldn’t have to come to the point to where it’s at— to where we’re losing an innocent grandmother just coming home from church on a Sunday morning. We have to continue to keep the light on mental [illness] in our communities because we don’t want to see another tragedy like this again.”
Councilman Wills called Gentillon’s passing “a tragic loss for our community.”
“We will continue to pray for her family and for whatever tender mercies may come onto them,” Wills said. “While we mourn Ms. Gentillon’s passing, we are reminded that we have lost not one but two lives to this senseless act. Greater focus must be placed on substance abuse and mental health issues.”
The PRESS of Southeast Queens was unable to reach Gentillon’s family.