NEW YORK (AP) — Police on Saturday were hunting for a suspected of cutting a cabbie's throat during an attempted robbery, and who may also be involved in the death of a man at a New York City homeless shelter.
William Smith, 53, was wanted for questioning. Police said he hailed the cab in Queens and asked to be taken to a Holiday Inn shortly after midnight on Saturday. When they arrived, he slashed the driver and tried to rob him, but fled without taking anything, police said. He left his cell phone and wallet behind, they said.
The driver, Manuel Vera, 43, told the Daily News of New York the man put a blade his neck when he asked for the $10 fare. Vera was hospitalized in stable condition with a jagged cut on his neck.
"This guy was crazy," Vera told the newspaper outside Elmhurst Hospital Saturday. "He was slicing all over the place."
Police believe Smith may also be involved in the death of Marcus Guerreiro, 56, at the city's main intake center for homeless men. The man was discovered in a blood-soaked bed on in his room at the Bellevue Men's Shelter at about 8:30 a.m. Friday. There were three beds total in the victim's room. Police were combing through security footage and interviewing other residents.
Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks said 30 shelter guards worked Thursday night.
Officials have struggled to serve the city's growing homeless population in recent years. Shelter safety has come under particular scrutiny following some high-profile crimes involving the homeless. Banks says the city has trained more guards.