Tse was unconscious when police found him.
The retiree would never recover.
He died Saturday after spending more than a week in a coma at the Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. Now, his family and several elected officials are pressing for murder charges against the driver of the other vehicle — and questioning whether the driver’s sister, a New York Police Department school safety agent, tried to cover up her brother’s actions.
“I had a chance to see Mr. Tse the day before he passed and I can’t even describe the feeling,” New York Assemblyman Ron Kim said Wednesday. “I could only think, it could have easily been my father or any of our fathers or grandfathers, and I think that’s what many are feeling in the community.”
Cleamon Anderson, 44, the driver of the other vehicle, was arrested in connection with the assault on the day of the incident, police said.
Anderson was released on $50,000 bail, according to the New York Daily News.
The newspaper said the NYPD is investigating whether Robin Anderson Scott, the passenger in her brother’s vehicle, lied to police officers about the attack.
Scott, a school safety agent, initially told officers that Tse had slipped and fallen. But police reviewed video that showed otherwise, the newspaper reported.
The NYPD did not respond to an email request for comment Wednesday regarding Scott’s status, but the Daily News reported that she has been suspended from duty.
In footage from a dash cam in Tse’s car, Anderson and Tse can be seen holding up their phones and taking pictures of the incident, making repeated hand gestures toward their vehicles. Though their conversation is not clearly audible, the sounds of muffled yelling indicate the two were having a heated exchange.
Both men soon move out of the frame; Tse never reappears.
The video does not show how Tse became injured. However, police later obtained surveillance video from a nearby building that showed Anderson punching Tse to the ground, according to Karlin Chan, a spokesman for the Tse family.
A photo of Tse taken shortly after the attack shows him unconscious on a stretcher, with two swollen black eyes. Doctors performed surgery to relieve the swelling in his brain but told the family Tse had a slim chance of survival, Chan said.
Chan described Tse as “a very easygoing person” who immigrated with his wife and two children from Hong Kong in 1993 and worked as a carpenter for a Chinese renovation company. He was known to be a good cook who volunteered for many years at the Selfhelp Benjamin Rosenthal Prince Innovative Senior Center in Flushing, a neighborhood in Queens. The area is home to one of the largest Chinese immigrant populations in New York.
Tse also was a devout Christian who attended the daily Cantonese-language service at Boon Church of Oversea Chinese Mission in Flushing, said his pastor, Stephen Kong.
“We feel deeply sorry for the loss for his family,” Kong said.
The soft-spoken Tse used his handyman skills to paint, patch walls and do other light maintenance at the church, said Kong.
Monday, two days after Tse was taken off life support, the New York City medical examiner’s office ruled Tse’s death a homicide.
The decision sparked a rally the following day outside the senior center where Tse volunteered.
Several elected officials, including Kim, who represents Flushing, and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), urged prosecutors to level the harshest possible charges against Anderson.
“Vincent was a kind, warm, and generous man who enjoyed serving others,” Jane Qiu, director of the senior center, said in a statement. “Everyone at the senior center is still shocked and upset about this incident… I join our elected officials in calling for full justice for the assailant and in sending a strong message that we will not tolerate any attacks against older adults.”
The Queens District Attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Tse is survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren, Chan said. He added the family remains devastated about the attack.
“They’re basically still in shock,” he said. “It was just a senseless act of violence.”
According to a newly released study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year.”
Among the study’s estimates: 7.6 million U.S. drivers (about 3.7 percent of those on the road) got out of their vehicles to confront another driver.
“Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage,” Jurek Grabowski, director of research for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a statement last month. “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”