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Chappaqua Deli Shooting Suspect Sued Victim, Renowned Doctor, Over Firing

Hengjun Chao, the suspect in Monday's shooting at Lange's deli in Chappaqua, is escorted by New Castle Police to his arraignment.
Hengjun Chao, the suspect in Monday's shooting at Lange's deli in Chappaqua, is escorted by New Castle Police to his arraignment. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Hengjun Chao, the suspect in Monday's shooting at Lange's deli in Chappaqua, is escorted by New Castle Police to his arraignment.
Hengjun Chao, the suspect in Monday's shooting at Lange's deli in Chappaqua, is escorted by New Castle Police to his arraignment. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Damage is visible at the front door of Lange's deli in Chappaqua following a shooting on Monday morning.
Damage is visible at the front door of Lange's deli in Chappaqua following a shooting on Monday morning. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Hengjun Chao, left, is pictured at his arraignment in New Castle Justice Court.
Hengjun Chao, left, is pictured at his arraignment in New Castle Justice Court. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
Hengjun Chao, pictured moments before his arraignment in New Castle Justice Court.
Hengjun Chao, pictured moments before his arraignment in New Castle Justice Court. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
New Castle Town Justice Noah Sorkin, pictured at the arraignment of Hengjun Chao, who is the suspect in a shooting a Lange's, a popular deli in Chappaqua.
New Castle Town Justice Noah Sorkin, pictured at the arraignment of Hengjun Chao, who is the suspect in a shooting a Lange's, a popular deli in Chappaqua. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
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: Tom Auchterlonie
Dennis S. Charney, M.D.
Dennis S. Charney, M.D. Photo Credit: Wikipedia
A New Castle Police car is pictured next to Lange's, a popular deli in Chappaqua, following a shooting on Monday morning.
A New Castle Police car is pictured next to Lange's, a popular deli in Chappaqua, following a shooting on Monday morning. Photo Credit: New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein (screen shot)
Lange's Little Store & Delicatessen
Lange's Little Store & Delicatessen Photo Credit: Google Maps

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- The suspect in Monday morning's shooting by Chappaqua's Lange's Little Store & Delicatassen, a favorite of hometown residents Bill and Hillary Clinton, that injured two people has a contentious legal history with one of the men who was wounded.

Tuckahoe resident Hengjun Chao, 49, is a former assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He sued the institution and former co-workers in 2010 after being fired for alleged manipulation of research data, which he claimed was due to a biased disciplinary process.

One of the shooting victims was identified as Dennis Charney, who is a dean at the medical school and recognized as one of the nation's leading doctors. It was Charney made the decision to fire Chao after an internal inquiry issued in 2009, according to the suit, which was filed in federal court.

Charney has lived in Chappaqua, Daily Voice confirmed. He received a distinguished alumni award last year from Penn State, which is his alma mater.

The suit claims that Charney also testified before a faculty disciplinary tribunal, telling the body that Chao "omitted data points when excluding those points were to his benefit."

Charney allegedly told the tribunal that Chao acted in an inappropriately authoritative manner in his laboratory."

Chao vehemently denied the allegations, claiming that a work colleague was responsible instead. He accused Charney, along with other colleagues, of libel for their statements, and claimed breach of contract against Mount Sinai.

A lower-court judge tossed Chao's case in 2011, while a federal appeals court affirmed the decision in 2012.

Chao immigrated to the United States from China in the 1990s and joined Mt. Sinai's faculty in 2002, according to his lawsuit. He has been charged with a felony count of attempted murder in connection with the shooting; he was arraigned on Monday evening by New Castle Town Justice Noah Sorkin and remanded to Westchester County Jail in Valhalla.

Sorkin entered an order of protection in favor of Charney, which legally requires Chao to stay away from him for one year. it is not clear whether Chao alleged targeted the second shooting victim.

Lange's is an institution in Chappaqua, being a popular stop for various residents, notably former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

When Hillary Clinton, who is now the Democratic presidential nominee, launched her campaign in the spring of 2015, her initial ad featured Lange's as one of its sites.

Update: Initial information released on the town's behalf on Monay noted that the shooting took place at Lange's. Newer information noted that it took place just outside and by the entrance. This story has been updated to reflect the change of public details.

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