FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 14, 2020
Queens Man Indicted for Fatal Beating of Brooklyn Video Game Designer in Early Morning Attack on Williamsburg Street Corner
Allegedly Attacked Victim After Being Refused a Cigarette;
Co-defendant Indicted in January
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 29-year-old Queens man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with first-degree manslaughter for the fatal beating of 26-year-old video game designer and entrepreneur Jose Zambrano. The defendant and a previously indicted co-defendant allegedly attacked the victim on a Williamsburg street corner after he refused to give them a cigarette.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The alleged violence this defendant and his accomplice inflicted claimed the life of a talented young man already making a name for himself in the business and video game communities. It is heartbreaking that such a senseless attack should deprive the victim, his family and friends from knowing his full potential. We will now seek to get justice for the victim and his loved ones.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Damian Diaz, 29, of Ozone Park, Queens. The defendant was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dineen Riviezzo on an indictment in which he is charged with first-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, second-degree attempted assault, and related charges. Bail was continued at $250,000 bond or $25,000 cash. The defendant was ordered to return to court on April 21, 2020. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
Co-defendant Joshua Hernandez, 25, of Bushwick, Brooklyn, was arraigned on January 30, 2020 and charged with first-degree manslaughter. Bail was continued at $20,000. The defendant was ordered to return to court March 12, 2020. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on November 17, 2019, at approximately 4:30 a.m., Diaz and Hernandez approached Jose Zambrano, 26, at the intersection of Grand Street and Havermeyer Street in Williamsburg. It is alleged that one of the men asked the victim for a cigarette. When the victim refused, Diaz allegedly grabbed his arm.
Hernandez allegedly began striking the victim about the head before both defendants began taking turns hitting the victim until he and an eyewitness walked away. Defendant Diaz allegedly followed the victim, approaching him down the street and striking the victim again, causing him to fall to the ground.
Zambrano, an accomplished video game designer and entrepreneur, lost consciousness and was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he died four days later.
Police arrested Hernandez within an hour of the assault after he was identified by an eyewitness. Diaz was arrested on January 23, 2020 after police reviewed video surveillance that allegedly captured his involvement in the assault.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael Diamond and Assistant District Attorney Jessica Bussanich, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eaddy, Bureau Chief.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.