Suspect in shoving death of grandmother, 87, surrenders to New York City police

Lauren Pazienza, 26, charged with manslaughter

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Suspect in 87-year-old grandmother's NYC shove death surrenders
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NJ Burkett reports from Chelsea after Lauren Pazienza, 26, of Port Jefferson, turned herself in at the 10th Precinct.

NEW YORK -- A woman wanted for allegedly shoving a beloved 87-year-old grandmother who later died from her injuries in a random unprovoked attack in New York City surrendered to police Tuesday.

Lauren Pazienza, 26, of Long Island turned herself in, and was charged with manslaughter.

Barbara Maier Gustern, an active performer and voice coach, was wrapping up rehearsal last Thursday night in Manhattan when the woman approached her from behind and pushed her to the ground.

Gustern suffered a severe head injury and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

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Police announced five days later that she had died as a result of her injuries.

A source close to the case told ABC New York affiliate WABC that Pazienza did not know the victim. The motive, if there is one, is still unclear.

Gustern was on her way to attend a student's performance when the woman attacked her.

Gustern's grandson, A.J., spoke out to WABC on Monday.

"She's the light of my life," he said after flying in from Colorado to be with his grandmother at Bellevue Hospital. "I'm angry at the state of the world. I'm angry at the state of the city."