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Trial Of Chappaqua Deli Shooting Suspect Starts

Hengjun Chao is escorted by New Castle Police following his court arraignment. Chao is the suspect in a shooting a Lange's deli in Chappaqua.
Hengjun Chao is escorted by New Castle Police following his court arraignment. Chao is the suspect in a shooting a Lange's deli in Chappaqua. Photo Credit: File photo
Hengjun Chao
Hengjun Chao Photo Credit: File photo

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - The Westchester man accused of allegedly attempting to shoot his former boss outside of a Chappaqua deli last year was back in court on Monday.

Opening statements reportedly began in the case of Tuckahoe resident Hengjun Chao, who allegedly shot his victim, Dr. Dennis Charney, outside of Lange’s Little Store and Delicatessen in a premeditated attack.

On the morning of Aug. 26, Charney, the dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and at least one other person were struck by buckshot outside of the deli, allegedly from a shotgun wielded by Chao, who was arrested at the scene by New Castle Police.

Chao, 49, was charged with one count of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree criminal use of a firearm and first-degree assault, all felonies. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in Westchester County Court last October.

"When the victim left the deli, the defendant retrieved a loaded shotgun from the trunk of his car," the district attorney's office alleged in a statement released following Chao’s arrest. "He walked towards the victim, took aim and fired one shot, hitting him in the shoulder and chest area. The defendant remained there and was subsequently arrested by New Castle Police officers.”

Charney was reportedly on a committee that played a part in Chao losing his research job at the school in 2009 following an investigation into potential data fraud. Chao went on to unsuccessfully sue Mount Sinai and Charney in federal court before his alleged involvement in the shooting.

Following the shooting, Charney was hospitalized for five days, where he was treated for his injuries. A second person in the vicinity of the incident, who was not a target, was also suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Keep following Daily Voice for updates on Chao’s case as the trial begins. Previous coverage of the shooting can be found here.

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