2008-08-08 / Front Page

Psych Exam For Slasher

Cut 2, Loaded Automatic Found In Home
By Howard Schwach

The deranged local man who slashed two deli workers on July 31 has been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after his bizarre behavior at the Rockaway Deli & Grocery and after police found a loaded 9 millimeter automatic handgun in his home, court records show.

The double-slashing took place inside the Rockaway Deli & Grocery on Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 113 Street. Detectives speak with witnesses outside the store. Police tracked Ortho Arnold to his Beach 117 Street apartment and found a loaded handgun inside. The double-slashing took place inside the Rockaway Deli & Grocery on Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 113 Street. Detectives speak with witnesses outside the store. Police tracked Ortho Arnold to his Beach 117 Street apartment and found a loaded handgun inside. Police say that Ortho Arnold, 29, of 180 Beach 117 Street, a regular customer of the deli, located at 112-32 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, went into the store at about 10:11 a.m. on Thursday and got into a confrontation with a clerk, Ahmed Moqbel.

It is unclear why the confrontation began, but officials say that Arnold had just purchased cigarette rolling papers and was given his change when the altercation began.

When Moqbel asked him to leave the store, court records say, Arnold spit at him and then came over the counter, grabbing the deli worker by the shoulder as he did so. The entire incident was caught on store surveillance video cameras.

Moqbel ran from behind the counter and grabbed a broomstick to defend himself. At that point, records show, Arnold pulled a knife from his belt and charged the clerk, slashing him from the top of his head to his forehead, causing a deep laceration and heavy bleeding.

Arnold then threw Moqbel to the ground and began kicking him.

A second clerk, Allhibi Wathah, tried to get Arnold away from his relative and was slashed heavily on his forearm.

Arnold then fled the scene.

Both of the clerks were transported to local hospitals.

Moqbel, who is reportedly the owner's cousin, received numerous stitches to his head and was listed in stable condition by authorities.

Wathah, the owner's son, received 22 stitches to his forearm and was then released.

After an initial confusion that brought police to the St. John's Residence on Beach 110 Street seeking the perpetrator, store workers identified Arnold and police detectives went to his Beach 117 Street home.

They arrested Arnold outside the apartment building and recovered the knife, but could not enter his apartment seeking further evidence without a search warrant.

On the way into the 100 Precinct, Arnold told reporters, "all I know is that my wounds run deep," and continued, "it was only self-defense."

Detectives at Arnold's apartment awaited the arrival of the search warrant until about 8 p.m. that evening.

Police entered Apartment 5G and found a nine millimeter Smith and Wesson pistol with seven live rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. Police say that the pistol was on a bed in plain view when they entered the apartment.

Court records show that Arnold had pled guilty to assault in January of 2003.

Arnold was arraigned on August 1 and remanded without possibility of bail.

There are actually two separate cases pending for Arnold in Queens Criminal Court, according to a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

The first charges him with three counts of assault and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with his actions in the deli.

The second charges Arnold with criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, an armed felony charge, in connection with the loaded handgun found in his apartment.

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