Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Gya: Food-man immolates self rather than stop being abusive

A Queens cab driver died yesterday after turning himself into a human torch in front of his horrified children, minutes after cops told him to stop abusing his wife, police said.

Rishi Ram Sawak, 48, was dead on arrival at Jamaica Hospital after the 3 p.m. incident, in which he poured gasoline over his head and lit himself on fire on the pavement outside his Ozone Park home.

His children saw the fire from a window in the living room of their 103-19 126th St. home, at first not knowing the blaze was consuming their father.

Sawak's wife, Sharion, said yesterday that his abuse had driven her to file a complaint at the 102nd Precinct house on Saturday. She said the part-time cab driver often had threatened to inflict violence on his family.

"He always threatened, 'I'm going to burn the house down with everything inside,'" Sharion told the Daily News yesterday. "Instead, he burned himself."

Sawak's anger had been building since lunchtime Saturday, when he yelled at his wife for not making him lunch, she said. "Where's my food? I want my food," Sharion Sawak quoted her husband as saying.

The couple fought until late at night, and the anger resumed yesterday morning when they woke up, she said. Sawak knocked a box of cereal from his wife's hands on the breakfast table, then threw a VCR and cable box across the room, she said.

Sawak fuelled his rage by downing beer and rum through the morning, taunting his wife until she went to police, she said. Her drunken husband followed her to the stationhouse, where cops threatened to lock him up if he went back to the house, Sharion Sawak said.
My mother always warned me against what she calls "food-men." A 'food-man' is the type of man who wants to met his food on the table, hot and waiting for him, when he walks into a house. He wants his food and he wants it now! Any delays for any reason result in blows.

Lamentable that Sawak chose this way out rather than putting a peaceful family life first.


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