Lauren Pazienza, who is charged with fatally shoving an elderly woman in a ‘random’ attack in New York City, has been described by former college friends as ‘pure trouble’ and the ‘poster child for white privilege’
Former college classmates of Lauren Pazienza have described her as, ‘pure trouble,’ and ‘a danger,’ who was prone to violence and they have shared exclusive video with DailyMail.com in which the New York events coordinator is seen ‘mocking’ deaf people.
Both sources, who asked to remain anonymous, knew Pazienza when the 26-year-old was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
Pazienza was charged Tuesday with killing grandmother and renowned voice-coach Barbara Gustern in an apparently unprovoked and motiveless attack on a Manhattan street.
The criminal complaint obtained by DailyMail.com states that the 26-year-old crossed the street, called the 87-year-old, whom she did not know, a ‘b***h’ and forcibly shoved her off the pavement.
Gustern fell to the ground and sustained head wounds from which she died six days later on March 16.
It was a shocking turn of events, but, her former college classmates told DailyMail.com, the news that Pazienza had allegedly been involved in such an horrific incident came as ‘no surprise’ to those who knew her back then.
One said: ‘What angered me most was seeing that her lawyer said she’s overcharged and is a good and moral person. She’s not.
‘I knew her very well at school and she was pure trouble.’
In a video obtained by DailyMail.com the 26-year-old can be seen, according to friends, mocking a deaf person, by contorting her face, screeching and speaking in a distorted voice
Pazienza, seen on family vacation as a teenager, appears to have lived a life of privilege, and later glamour in New York City’s high society before landing behind bars
Pazienza turned herself in on Tuesday when she was booked for manslaughter in the first degree and assault in the second degree. She made no comment as she was taken out of the 10th Precinct to the courthouse
Pazienza’s attorney, Arthur Aidala, has said that even if his client did push Gustern pushing a person from a sidewalk is not like ‘pushing them from a cliff,’ and that the charges she faces – which include manslaughter – are excessive.
But according to the former friend: ‘She’s the poster child for white privilege. She never faced any consequences in her life. She was enabled by her parents who got her out of everything, but she called them stupid and basic.’
According to the criminal complaint Pazienza, ‘made every effort to avoid detection.’
When police were tipped off that she was hiding out in her parents’ Long Island home, ‘Her father [Daniel] answered the door, but refused to allow detectives to enter the premises, and claimed that his daughter was not at home.
‘It was only at that point, despite all of the media attention that this incident has received, despite the fact that the defendant knew what she had done when she fled the city, despite the pleas from the victim’s loved ones begging for the perpetrator to come forward, that the defendant’s counsel contacted the police and arranged for her to surrender.’
None of this is surprising to her former friend who said simply, ‘she has no empathy,’ and never showed any remorse for her bad acts during her time as a student at FIT.
In fact, Pazienza was, the former friend said, prone to mocking people and spoke in a derogatory manner, they said ‘about fat people and deaf people…anyone.’
In footage shared with DailyMail.com Pazienza can be seen contorting and making a grotesque face, screeching and speaking in a distorted voice that, the friend said, was her ‘mocking deaf people.’
In a second video obtained by DailyMail.com, Pazienza can be seen in her college dorm room in bra and jacket behaving in an odd and, the former friend said, attention-grabbing manner
Two classmates who knew Pazienza when she was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York described her as ‘pure trouble’
In another video she is filmed in her dorm room in bra and jacket behaving in a bizarre and, the source said, attention-grabbing manner.
They continued: ‘She’s not a good person. She has a fiancé, and she went to high school, and she went to college but none of these parts of her life were normal.’
Unpredictable and confrontational, the first source described Pazienza as, ‘abusive to her boyfriend [now fiancé Naveen Pereira] on multiple occasions.’
They added: ‘She cheated on him multiple occasions. He was reserved and very kind and seemed annoyed with her when I met him and fearful of her.
‘She was a very manipulative person.’
The friend watched with increasing unease, they said, as Pazienza’s ‘reckless’ behavior escalated.
‘I witnessed her behave recklessly. She would throw herself in front of cars in the street. She was a complete wildcard,’ she source said.
‘I believe she was in control of her behavior. I saw her get so drunk she pissed herself, but I don’t think any of it was drug related.
‘She was cold and calculated,’ they added.
Former friends say Pazienza grew up very privileged and was ‘enabled’ by her parents. She is seen attending a Manhattan rooftop party left as a teenager and the 40th-anniversary party for New York society magazine Avenue in 2015 right
After graduating high school in 2013, Pazienza (above) earned a bachelors degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology
Pazienza and her fiancé live in a one bedroom apartment in Astoria, Queens, which his family owns. Their doorman building is pictured
As time passed they grew to fear Pazienza who, the classmate said, took to ‘spying’ on them.
‘I would see feet beneath my door in my dorm and open it to see her running away down the hallway. It freaked me out,’ the friend said.
Asked to sum up their former friend, the classmate said: ‘She was a predator…and I was very relieved when she was out of my life.’
According to the source, they detached from Pazienza because of growing alarm at her behavior.
And while they have not been surprised by recent events, they said: ‘I’ve been very disturbed and very creeped out to think that person had any space in my life.’
The second source said: ‘There’s no way that she meant to kill a person. I don’t think that for a minute.
‘But I can totally see that if she was having a bad day and somebody was in front of her, walking too slow, she would push them. That’s the kind of edge she has.
‘She’s a danger.’
Pazienza turned herself in on Tuesday when she was booked for manslaughter in the first degree and assault in the second degree. She is currently jailed on Rikers Island as her parents pull together funds to meet her $500,000 cash bond obligation.
Pazienza lives with her fiancé, Microsoft customer support specialist Naveen Pereira (with her above). Prosecutors say the two were seen arguing on the street soon after the fatal attack
Broadway singing coach Barbara Maier Gustern died in a hospital last week after she was put on life support following the random shoving attack
AJ, who has served as a family spokesman since his grandmother’s death, is seen with her above. He affectionately referred to her as ‘bobbob’ and remembered her as ‘a force of nature’
Police issued these images of Pazienza on Saturday, claiming she was responsible for the attack. She handed herself in two days later but it’s unclear if she has admitted to pushing the woman over
Pazienza is shown walking near the scene of the crime on March 10 at around 8.30pm. Prosecutors say that the NYPD meticulously tracked her movements after the attack through a painstaking review of surveillance footage across the city
She is due to appear in court Friday.
Pazienza grew up in affluent parts of Long Island as the daughter of a septic service mogul, and enjoyed living the high life at swanky parties before landing behind bars.
Prosecutors say she approached Gustern at random, called her a ‘b***h’, pushed her from behind, causing the unsuspecting woman to gall and hit her head, and then fled.
She is then said to have watched as an ambulance crew took the frail older woman away with blood seeping from her head.
Though Pazienza she appears to have lived a life of privilege, and later glamour in New York City’s high society, neighbors told the New York Post that she was sharp-tempered and confrontational, and an elementary classmate has claimed she bullied fellow students.
A former classmate of Pazienza told Fox News that when he moved in down the street from her in second grade, she began bullying him.
The classmate claimed that she always had a ‘crazy look in her eyes’ and would kick him and call him and other kids names.
Pazienza grew up in historic Setauket, Long Island, where she attended Ward Melville High School with her future fiancé, Microsoft customer support specialist Naveen Pereira.
Her father Daniel owns a prosperous third-generation cesspool draining company, and claims on the company website that it was voted No. 1 in both price and service in Suffolk County for several years running.
In addition to pumping services, the company provides cesspool installations, grease trap installations, septic tank installations, storm drains and catch basin installations.
‘At Dan Pazienza Cesspool Service we pride ourselves on being Suffolk County’s most advanced cesspool service. We have been serving Suffolk County for over 3 generations,’ the website boasts.
Pazienza is currently jailed on Rikers Island – but grew up in an affluent family on Long Island and enjoyed Manhattan’s high society. She is seen above in photos from her teenage years
Prosecutors say that on Monday, NYPD detectives visited the parents’ Long Island home (above) after receiving a tip that Pazienza was hiding out there, but that her father claimed that she was not at home and did not consent to a search
Pazienza’s father Daniel owns a prosperous third-generation cesspool draining company (above), and claims on the company website that it was voted No. 1 in both price and service in Suffolk County for several years running
Lauren Pazienza’s parent Daniel and Caroline leave Manhattan Criminal court after their daughter was arraigned for allegedly pushing Barbara Gustern and killing her in an unprovoked attack
Paziensa’s parents Daniel and Caroline, who have been married for 28 years, enjoyed a life of prosperity, taking vacations to Aruba, France, and the Florida Keys over the years, photos on Facebook show.
The family later moved to Port Jefferson, where Paziena allegedly fled to hide in her parents’ home after Gustern’s death.
After graduating high school in 2013, Paziena earned a bachelors degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Photos show her enjoying glamorous parties in Manhattan in recent years, including the 40th-anniversary party for New York society magazine Avenue in 2015.
Pazienza had recently been living in an Astoria condo with her fiancé, who purchased the unit in 2019 with his father.
Neighbors told the Post that they were not entirely surprised to learn of the charges against Pazienza, saying that she was known to have a short fuse and was frequently confrontational.
‘There’s always some type of issue, some type of complaint. You’ll always know it’s her. It’s ridiculous,’ one said.
Pazienza’s parents Caroline and Daniel. Prosecutors say she hid at her parents’ home for days and that they lied to cops when they went looking for her, claiming she was not there
The parents of Lauren Pazienza leave criminal court trailed by members of the media after their daughter’s arraignment Tuesday in New York. The 26-year-old woman of Port Jefferson, Long Island, faces a manslaughter charge in the death of Barbara Maier Gustern
One neighbor said Pazienza argued with the building management about issues like parking tickets, but that it never got physical.
‘It was verbal. Sometimes she would stand up for herself, definitely,’ said the woman. ‘She will not put up with nonsense … she will say, ‘What is your problem?’ ‘What do you want from me?’
‘There was always an issue with her and someone in the building,’ one neighbor told the outlet. ‘It’s like always something with that lady. I feel for her fiancé because he’s a nice guy and he didn’t sign up for this.’
Prosecutors claim that after the attack on Gustern, Pazienza then spent the next two weeks trying to cover her tracks.
She quit her job in Chelsea, deleted her social media pages and even stashed her cell phone at her aunt’s house in Long Island after fleeing her Astoria apartment, where she lives with her Microsoft-employee fiancé.
Eventually, she handed herself in after the NYPD released clear-as-day photos of her getting on the subway some 20 minutes after the attack.
Pazienza worked as an events coordinator for the furniture brand Roche Bobois, but quit her role in December. It’s unclear what motive she could have had for pushing the woman.