Updated 09/08/2012 11:18 AM
Man Dead After Gas Station Fight
A man is dead after getting into a fight with a gas station attendant in Queens. NY1's Vanessa Yurkevich filed the following report.
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A heated discussion over a broken ATM machine at a gas station in Long Island City turned to blows early Thursday morning. Police say 28-year-old Oscar Arzeno threw the first punch and gas attendant Jasjeet Walia returned blows. Arzeno died later that morning at Elmhurst Hospital.
"The deceased was trying to get money out of the ATM machine, couldn't get money out, or if was not functioning for him," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "He started to kick the machine, the attendant intervenes, talks to him."
Arzeno was found unconscious and unresponsive at the scene. Walia, who was questioned and released, says he was defending himself and claims Arzeno appeared to be intoxicated.
"He was attacking me violently," Walia said. "I had to do whatever I had to do to defend myself. I didn't want to get hurt. I was scared."
Arzeno's family says Walia went too far.
"My brother tried to run across the street and the pursuer went after him and started beating him on the street," said Chris Polanco, the victim's brother.
Earlier this week, a gas attendant was shot in the Bronx. Walia, who is trained in martial arts, said he didn't want this incident to be a repeat.
"I wanted to find a way to keep him down and keep him on the floor. I finally got my chance. I kept him on a hold until the cops showed up," he said. "I didn't want to give him enough space that he could reach for something in his pocket."
Arzeno's mother and fiance say they want Walia put in jail. Arzeno was scheduled to return home to Florida the day he died. The investigation is ongoing and the medical examiner has yet to determine the cause of death.
The family says they will hold a viewing for Arzeno on Tuesday in Corona. They plan to burry him in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.