Long Island Woman Surrenders in Connection With Fatal Shove of Elderly Voice Coach Barbara Maier Gustern

Lauren Pazienza is accused of violently shoving Barbara Gustern in an unprovoked attack earlier this month. Gustern died four days later.

A 26-year-old Long Island woman has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of a beloved Broadway vocal coach.

Lauren Pazienza is accused of violently shoving 87-year-old Barbara Maier Gustern to the ground earlier this month in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Cops say the attack was unprovoked. Gustern died of head trauma four days later.

Police released a wanted poster that included an image of the suspect taken from surveillance footage. After the image was plastered all over the city and circulated online, Pazienza, an event planner, turned herself into police. She was accompanied by her lawyer.

Pazienza grew up in Long Island and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and was engaged to be married to her high school sweetheart. She worked in communications at a high-end furniture store on Madison Avenue.

Gustern was a well-respected voice coach who once worked with Blondie’s Debbie Harry and the cast of the 2019 "Oklahoma!" revival. 

A.J. Gustern, her grandson, held her hand during her final moments.

“My initial reaction this morning was one of rage. One less person doing that on the street is good,” A.J. said.

A funeral for Barbara Gustern will be held Saturday.

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