Detectives from the NYPD's Hate Crimes Unit are among those investigating the stabbing death of a Muslim woman in Queens. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Nazma Khanam's three adult children and longtime husband are mourning.
"She's a very nice lady. She's a Muslim. She's a retired school teacher back home in Bangladesh. And she's very polite," said Syed Ahmed, a friend of the family.
Ahmed says Khanam was heading home with her husband from the store they own on Jamaica Avenuewhen she was stabbed in the chest as her husband walked just ahead of her.
"He was a little far, but when he went there, he found and called 911," Ahmed said.
A young woman came out of her home to find Khanam wounded and unconscious.
"We went outside and she was just laying there. First, it looked like she fainted, but there was blood everywhere after they took off her clothes
First responders tried to stop the bleeding and rushed her to Jamaica Hospital, but it was too late.
It was just after 9 p.m. Wednesday on Normal Road near Parsons Boulevard, a quiet and usually safe area, say neighbors.
"I parked my car at 9 p.m. here and I walked to my house," said one neighbor. "It could have happened to me. I'm so sad."
People are concerned. Some are worried about vagrants in the area.
But another concern is whether the attack occurred because of religion. There are a lot of people of Bangladeshi descent living here, and Khanam was an observant Muslim wearing a traditional head covering and walking her normal route.
An imam from Bangladesh and his associate were shot dead in another Queens neighborhood two weeks ago. The alleged gunman was arrested.
Khanam's family and some Muslims in the neighborhood say they aren't drawing any conclusions. They just want the killer caught.
"This world is not safe anywhere," said one person in the neighborhood.
Khanam immigrated from Bangladesh seven years ago, joining other relatives here, including a nephew, an NYPD officer.
The NYPD Muslim officers society announced her death in a tweet, adding, "let's catch the perp."
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.