Sunset Park Man Arraigned for Hammer Attack That Killed Mother and Critically Injured 2 Children


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Sunset Park Man Arraigned for Hammer Attack

That Killed Mother and Critically Injured 2 Children

Defendant Faces Up to 25 Years to Life in Prison If Convicted of Second-Degree Murder

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Sunset Park man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder for an alleged attack in which he bludgeoned and strangled a 43-year-old mother to death and critically wounded her 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter with a hammer.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This was a horrific, harrowing, and unspeakably brutal attack on an innocent mother and her two defenseless young children. With this prosecution, we will seek justice for Zhao Zhao and her son and daughter, as well as their heartbroken family, friends, and neighbors.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Liyong Ye, 47, of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The defendant was ordered held without bail and to return to court on November 8, 2023. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on August 23, 2023, at approximately 1:30 p.m., the defendant allegedly attacked Zhao Zhao, 43, and her two children inside an apartment at 531 52nd Street shared by the two families and two roommates. The defendant and Zhao had previously argued over living conditions inside the apartment.

According to the investigation, the defendant allegedly called one of his roommates, shortly after the attack, and told him to pick up the defendant’s 5-year-old son. When the roommate returned to the apartment, he found the floor and walls of the kitchen covered with blood. The defendant was allegedly holding a bloody hammer in his hand and standing over the bodies of Zhao and her children. The roommate went outside and called 911. The defendant was arrested outside of the building.

Zhao was taken to Lutheran Hospital where she was pronounced dead from massive blunt force trauma to the head and body. Her children were treated at the Pediatric Trauma Unit at Bellevue Hospital and subsequently transferred to a long-term rehabilitation facility where they continue to recover from their critical injuries.

The District Attorney thanked Office Manager Jannette Ayala of the Homicide Bureau for their assistance on the case.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Chow Yun Xie, Deputy Chief and Assistant District Attorney Daphney Gachette of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau Senior, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, Chief of the Homicide Bureau.


An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.