Hwangbum Yang, a 26-year-old chef at a posh Manhattan restaurant, was doing what he did every night: returning home after the dinner shift to his family’s home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
But around midnight on Wednesday, an unidentified man shot and killed Yang, allegedly so he could steal his iPhone, according to police sources and reporting from The New York Post.
Yang, who aspired to become a famous chef so he could return to his native Korea and make it big, was just a few blocks away from the apartment he shared with his family, on Johnson Street in Riverdale, according to the Riverdale Press.
Witnesses said they heard a single shot fired around 12:30 a.m. Thursday on Cambridge Avenue, near West 232nd Street. A witness spotted a man kicking at Yang’s body, which was on the ground, and rifling through Yang’s pockets, according to the Riverdale Press. The man then “made his getaway in a waiting silver minivan,” according to the Post.
Why would anyone want to kill Yang, a well-liked young man and church volunteer? Family members say it could be because of Yang’s iPhone.
He’d bought the iPhone, his first, in October, and could often be seen wearing his earbud headphones, his family said. He was still wearing them when emergency workers arrived yesterday, but the attached phone was nowhere to be found, according to the Post, leading Yang’s family to think he was targeted for the device. The money in Yang’s wallet remained untouched.
Prior to his death, Yang had been working at The Modern for three months, a well-regarded restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, owned by eponymous chef Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Yang was what is called a garde manager, managing the amuse bouche and cold food dishes, a USHG spokesman told the Post.