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Astoria Woman Turns Herself in After Going on The Run Following Fatal Push of 87-Year-Old in Manhattan

Lauren Pazienza, pictured, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday charged with manslaughter and two counts of assault.

Match 24, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

An Astoria woman who went on the run after allegedly shoving an 87-year-old woman to her death earlier this month has turned herself in.

Lauren Pazienza, 26, who lives at the Shore Towers apartment complex near Astoria Park, was arrested Tuesday after giving herself up to police for the violent push in Manhattan that caused the death of Barbara Maier Gustern, a well-respected vocal coach.

Pazienza had fled to her parent’s home in Long Island shortly after allegedly shoving Gustern, who fell to the ground and hit her head. She died in hospital from her injuries five days later.

The Astoria woman was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday charged with manslaughter and two counts of assault. She was then sent to Rikers Island after a judge set her bail at $500,000 cash or a $1 million bond, according to reports and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Her attorney said the bond is expected to be posted within the next 24 hours, according to a Fox News report.

According to the criminal complaint, Pazienza, who lived with her fiancé in a one-bedroom apartment at 25-40 Shore Blvd., allegedly crossed West 28th Street in Chelsea at around 8:30 p.m. and called Gustern a “bitch” — before pushing her to the pavement for no apparent reason. The incident took place between 8th Avenue and 9th Avenue.

Pazienza, prosecutors say, stayed in the area for more than 20 minutes after the alleged attack. During this time, she was seen having a “physical altercation” with her fiancé and then stood watching on the next block as an ambulance rushed to the aid of Gustern.

Her attorney said there is no evidence his client watched the victim lying on the street, NBC New York reported.

Security footage then shows the couple entering Penn Station and returning to Astoria, according to the complaint.

Assistant District Attorney Justin McNabney said in court Tuesday that Pazienza then tried to evade authorities by not using her cell phone before stashing it at her aunt’s residence. She also took down all of her social media accounts, he said.

On Monday, detectives showed up at the family home in Port Jefferson, but her father claimed she wasn’t there, prosecutors allege. Her attorney then contacted the police and Pazienza turned herself in on Tuesday.

Pazienza’s attorney said after her arrest that the charges were overblown, and his team would investigate what happened, according to NBC New York.

Her attorney also implied that the evidence against his client was unclear, saying the push could have been accidental, the publication reported

“Whether it was a push, whether it was a shove, whether it was a kick or whether someone tripped — the evidence is not very solid on that at all,” he said.

Gustern lived close to where she was pushed and had just left her home minutes earlier, according to the New York Times.

She was well known in Manhattan’s avant-garde scene for being an acclaimed singing coach.

The octogenarian once helped train rock singer Debbie Harry and the cast of the 2019 Broadway musical “Oklahoma!” the publication reported.

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58 Comments

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Fred

This isn’t the Upper West Side. The units in that building are not that big. Also if you read up on the nutcase you’d see that while her family does have money they’re not Bezos rich. A few articles showed a picture of her parents house and it’s not even a mansion. She seems like the fake type to pretend she’s some rich and famous person.

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Shirley

Its the Will Smith effect. Frustration and stress leading to lashing out. Mental stress and hurt feelings. This is what most of these cases are about.

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Inventing lauren

Part of her sentence will be a mandatory Netflix documentary with all funds received for her “story” will be given to the victim’s grandson.

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Talitha

This is why i moved from Astoria. So many entitled privileged brats aka Karens and Kens walking around who think they own the streets and could care less about the poor, elderly and minorities unless there is a trendy selfie opportunity they can post.

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Ha. Like places like bed sty, Harlem and mott haven are even better!??

Are you kidding???? There are places with ten times more violence!!!

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Riggen

Cause they don’t care about white on white crime. You know like how your people don’t care about minority on minority crime. It just doesn’t fit the narrative.

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I'm white 😂

“your” people? Thank you for agreeing that Trump lovers don’t care about white people committing crime.

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Yesinia

It’s not often you see a privileged woman have to take responsibility , RIP that poor old lady.

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Joanna

I bet she was high. Thanks De Blasio!! So many senseless assaults since weed became legal in nyc. And bystanders are too high to do anything other than taking pics, and snacking and watching.

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David

@Joanna- Get informed, pot doesn’t make people aggressive, it has the opposite effect.

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Reefer madness!

Everyone knows too many marijuana cigarettes will turn you into a murderer! When you think of stoners you think energetic, angry people…great point 😂

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Anita

I always see woman and men at Astoria Park right by where she lives that look like the suspect using the park as a dog run and leaving their dogs poops behind. Such a nasty and privileged group. Time for the 114th to add more plain clothes cops

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Lock her up

Arthur aidala is a good lawyer bit even he must realize that this is a cold blooded killer who waited around for the ambulance and tried to avoid detection
Real anger management issues
I’ll bet her parents thought she was a god

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Gloria

Like many amongst us, this suspect has lived 26 years of a privileged life for too long. I guess the wedding is off then. Kudos to the person who identified her to the police.

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Sara

The city needs more peace now. Holy God deliver us from evil empower people to stand tall and be helpful to our fellow brothers and sisters who are hurting. Let your grace be among us. Condolences to the families impacted by this and many other acts of senseless violence. 💛

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Dan

She’s of the privileged persuasion. Sentence suspended with probation, anger management, and community service. I’ll need my emotional support animal to get me through this one.

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LY

A moment’s madness and now a lifetime of regret. Whatever privileges one is born with is negated if that person is devoid of impulse control and self-restraint. I witnessed it myself during the protests as they marched right in here Queens stopping traffic, cursing at people and cops and destroying property. Hopefully many do not returns to NYC now that most covid mandates are being lifted.

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mac

Oh we’re still here, walking amoungst you. 🙂 Can you name a business in Sunnyside that was vandalized during the protests?

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Stacy

Fewer and fewer younger people have respect for older people. Social media calls them ‘Boomers’ and makes fun of them or is rude to them. Media also labels elderly white people as racists and NIMBY folks. Its truly disgusting and NYC is no longer a place that is safe for seniors.

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Tanisha

I’ve never seen a generation that is as callous and cruel towards the elderly as I have in my years here in the US until recently. This new privileged generation thinks they can get away with anything because they tweeted something politically correct and voted for a liberal. Please respect everyone around you, especially the elderly. They have a whole lifetime of wisdom and experience and deserve to live the rest of their lives with dignity and peace.

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In general

Respect for all people has gone down the drain. I’m. sick of the death threats I get (on occasion) for just being wherever I am at the moment. So sorry my strangered presence upsets his highness!!!

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Teri

It’s the blatant “privilege” for me. Seems everyone is making excuses for this monster. Victim’s grandson considered giving this monster “benefit of doubt”. Anyhoo I digress. Horrible and senseless death!

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Rocio

No one cares if she was “distraught and engaged to be married” !!!! Always trying to humanize these heartless entitled monsters!!!!!!😡

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Henry

My condolences go out to this woman’s family. Senseless and pure evil!!!! It boggles my mind what goes through people heads that they could do this to a defenseless old woman. I hope she does some serious jail time !!!!😡😡😡😡

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Kayla

She typifies the mindset of so many these days: an entitled, callous & self-centered wretch that lacks compassion for strangers & would just as soon as step over you if you were in their precious way. Who does that? Pushes an elderly woman to the ground as if it was regular or normal. Unreal.

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Rosa

This is so common today how the elderly woman had probably lived in the city for decades so she was street smart enough yet the attacker caught her off guard. The attackers come from out of nowhere so even when you try to always keep your eyes out and remain vigilant the attacks just pop from out of nowhere. Stay safe people. I been pushed/bumped into twice by young transplants, joggers and those on bikes in the neighborhood luckily I did not fall.

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David

I had my share of slow walkers in front of me. And yeah, it can be frustrating especially if you’re in a hurry but it’ll never occur to me to shove someone so hard to knock them off their feet. She knew what she was doing. She picked on an elderly person. She wouldn’t have done that to a burly, 6 feet tall dude from the projects. She belong in jail for a long time and she be charged with a hate crime.

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Jess

mental illness is now being weaponized. This chick had an emotional outburst and didn’t believe she would suffer consequences!!

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Tammy

Still trying to figure out why some in the media labeled this woman a “socialite.” Although her father seems to have a little money, her whole background sounds pretty hum drum bordering on white trash to me.

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Rebecca

All this senseless unprovoked violence is nightmarish and makes walking around in NYC stressful. Especially for people of color.

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Laura

She’s white so she won’t be getting any from leniency DA Braggs. She looks like a woke Manhattan millennial so it’s all good if she gets the book thrown at her.

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Jack

She turned herself in… charged with manslaughter. Wonder if she will serve any time in jail.

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Beth

Mental health has gotten exponentially worse. I see it everyday. From kids to adults there’s so much unhappy, unstable people. Our news cycle certainly helps with that, not to mention people who have been isolated at home without the routines and institutions in place that normally keep them in line.

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Sunnyside guy

The NY Post has an article with several people saying what a terrible person she has been her whole life.

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Vera

Her pics have entitlement written all over it. It is truly disgusting what Astoria has attracted to pay the high rents. I would think she voted for a progressive in the last local election. You know pretending that they care when they really do not and know nothing about the struggle.

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Fvk Life

Five years to get your affairs in order, then zaaaap!!!

No more of this three hots and a cot! The City school students can’t even get hot breakfast sometimes!!!

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Evan

Hopefully they throw some charges at her fiance, Naveen Pereira and he loses his job at Microsoft.

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Francis

We’ll soon find out, but highly doubt that Bragg guy has balls enough to slap conspiracy charges on the BF even if remotely could be true. Just google his pic.

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Natasha

The fact that her parents allowed her to hide in their home for two weeks, without turning her in, tells me everything I need to know about her & them. Where I come from that’s known as harboring a fugitive! Give them some jail time as well.

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Mary Sue

This girl is a vile individual. I live down the hall from her and she’s always causing problems in the building but management never seems to do anything about it. Last month she came home with a group of guys and just blasted music all night long. The next morning there were broken bottles, used condoms, and an open box of plan B in the hallway. Hopefully now she’ll be gone.

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Maritza

Typical Karen behavior…And many in Astoria…but they all do not lead to causing a death. There is only so much management could legally do to evict them.

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Mona

I read that NYPost hit piece also. The bully accusations were from when she was 7 years old for God’s sake. And as for her being a nuisance in her building every comment was anonymous and lacked any specificity. Most likely it’s not an accident but it’s also not known if she premeditated the shove

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Throw the book at her

You call a stranger the b word and shove her to the ground viciously and don’t try to help her
Sounds premeditated to me

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I call BS Mary Sue.

Sorry. There’s no way a socialite would live in a place that didn’t have each apartment its own floor.

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