A horrible crime. There have been so many tragedies for this community of deeply religious Sephardim--from the destruction of the community in Uzbekistan, including the destruction of the synagogue that was central to many lives in Tashkent, to these new tragedies in America.
My heart goes out to the Malakov family and to the entire close-knit Bucharian community in New York and across the country. May Hashm keep you close as you mourn for the loss of a good man, and you protect and nurture his daughter.
By JOE MOLLICA and CYNTHIA R. FAGEN
October 29, 2007 -- A Queens orthodontist who had recently been awarded custody of his 5-year-old daughter was fatally gunned down in cold blood in front of the screaming child yesterday as they entered a school playground to meet his ex-wife, police and relatives said.
Daniel Malakov, 34, who ran a successful practice nearby in Forest Hills, took two bullets to the chest, fired at point-blank range, outside the playground entrance on 64th Road near Yellowstone Boulevard at around 11 a.m.
A 15-year-old witness heard two shots, then saw a bloodied body hit the ground and a man running from the scene.
The teen said that a short time later, Malakov's mother, who lives nearby, ran to her dying son and cried, "Oh, my God, my son!"
"She was very scared. She was on her knees crying. She had blood on her hands," he said.
Malakov's ex-wife, a psychiatrist, tried to revive him with CPR, the teen said.
The couple's terrified daughter, Michelle, screamed and cried as her father lay on the ground covered in blood, witnesses said.
Daniel Malakov's father also ran to the scene.
"He was screaming and yelling and making wild sounds," said a woman who asked not to be identified. "He was saying, 'Who shot my son?' "
Police recovered a gun nearby.
He was pronounced dead at nearby North Shore University Hospital at Forest Hills.
No arrests have been made.
Police said no one was being questioned, and authorities have no suspects.
The wife and child were briefly interviewed at the 112th Precinct station house.
Malakov, who is from Uzbekistan, had been embroiled in a nasty legal battle with his ex-wife, Mazaltuv Borokhove, and last week won on appeal full custody of their daughter, relatives said.
"The judge decided to give the child to the father. He took Michelle. He was very happy," Hanna Mushiyeva, 63, the victim's aunt, said. "He made a big room for her, bought new clothes and was going to give her all the education she wanted."
Despite the bitterness, she said he had been willing to let the child visit her mother.
"Of course. This is her mother. Why shouldn't she take care of the child?" she recalled him saying.
Malakov had been planning to drop off little Michelle and head to his office about 100 yards from the playground.
Patients stood outside the shuttered office Malakov shared with another relative, Gavriel Malakov, a physical therapist.
"He had a very good temperament," said a shocked patient.
A family friend said Daniel Malakov's uncle, Ezro Malakov, had been a famous cantor.
A cousin said of the victim: "No one person would have said a bad thing about him. He did not have one enemy. He was a religious Jewish guy."