Elmhurst man faces life in prison for alleged murder of 3-year-old son at shelter: DA

A father living at the shelter in the old Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst was indicted for murder in the fatal beating of his 30-year-old son. (QNS/File)

A father who was living in an Elmhurst shelter for homeless families was indicted for murder and other crimes in the fatal beating of his 3-year-old son and physical abuse to a second child, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

Shaquan Butler, 26, was arraigned Dec. 20 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Yavinsky on an 11-count indictment charging him with murder, two counts of manslaughter and six counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

On the night of Sunday, Nov. 11, Butler allegedly struck his son, also named Shaquan, multiple times in the torso inside the family’s unit at the Boulevard Family Residence located at 79-00 Queens Blvd., according to the indictment. Responding to a 911 call, the FDNY and police from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst arrived at the shelter and found the youngster on the floor of the apartment, unconscious with visible bruising to his head, torso and extremities. The child was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The medical examiner determined that the child had significant internal bleeding and died from blunt force trauma to his torso. A medical examination of a second child, who is 2 years old, revealed physical injuries consistent with child abuse, according to the indictment.

“As alleged, this parent failed his primary duty as a protector, killing one of his own children by callous force and allegedly injured another,” Katz said. “We will not forget this child. The defendant will be held fully accountable for his actions.”

Butler has an extensive rap sheet, including 28 prior arrests for hate crimes, petit larceny, menacing, gang assaults, inciting to riot and burglary, according to the NYPD. Justice Yavinsky ordered Butler to return to court on Jan. 31. He faces up to 40 years to life in prison if convicted.