Suspect in Corona slashing wanted for questioning in shelter homicide: NYPD

By Bill Parry

Police are looking for a man suspected of slashing a livery cab driver in Corona early Saturday morning, according to the NYPD. Investigators believe the suspect is the same man wanted for questioning in a homicide at a Manhattan homeless shelter Friday.

The suspect is identified as William Smith, 53, who hailed the cab at 103rd St. and Roosevelt Avenue, not far from the No. 7 subway station. Upon arriving outside the Holiday Inn Express on Van Cleef Street near the Horace Harding Expressway around 12:30 a.m., police say he tried to rob the 43-year-old driver. Investigators say that’s when he slashed the driver in the neck and back with an unknown object.

The suspect fled on foot without taking any of the driver’s property. The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital General where he was listed in stable condition, according to the NYPD, his wallet and cellphone were recovered at the scene.

Police say Smith shared a room at 400 East 30th St. with a 56-year-old man who was discovered unconscious and unresponsive in a blood-soaked bed, according to the NYPD. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene with a laceration on his neck.

The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation continues.

Police describe Smith as a 5-foot-7, 160 lb. black man with hazel eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.