Sunday, September 11, 2011

Henryk Siwiak (1965-2001)

The New York Times reports that the last man killed in the city on September 11, 2001 was Henryk Siwiak, an undocumented immigrant from Poland who was city's only homicide unrelated to the terrorist attacks. He had arrived in the US the previous October to look for work, leaving his family behind in Poland. A few days after his 20th wedding anniversary, he found a job mopping floors at night in a supermarket. September 11 was to have been his first day at work.

He donned his favorite outfit, purchased from the Salvation Army, and set out for the supermarket. He was armed with bad directions, however, and he ended up in a particularly bad section of a bad neighborhood, Bedford-Stuyvesant. He was shot and died on someone's doorstep about 15 minutes before midnight. No witnesses have surfaced in the decade since his death and his murder remains unsolved. His death may have been a robbery gone wrong, though he still had money and belongings on his body. He may have been mistaken for someone else, stumbled into a robbery or drug deal, or shot by some idiot who thought he was a terrorist in those hysterical hours after the attacks.

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