Suspect in slashing of livery driver in Queens also wanted in shelter murder

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CeFaan Kim has the details from Elmhurst Hospital.

53-year-old William Smith is the man police say may be behind a bloody rampage stretching from Manhattan to queens. Investigators now say he may also have had something to do with the death of a man in a homeless shelter on East 30th Street on Friday morning.

Around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, police say Smith slashed 43-year-old livery cab driver Manuel Vera in his neck and back. Vera needed twenty-five stitches in total.

A photo of Vera's wounds, released by NYSFTD:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Employees at the taxi dispatch service where Vera works say Smith got picked up in Corona, and was heading to a hotel not too far away on Van Cleef Street. As that cab was pulling up to the destination, Smith tried to rob their driver, and turned violent.

"I'm very nervous. You know, all my drivers out there are working to support their families, and knowing that this is happening, it's not secure. It's crazy," says Smith's co-worker, Jennifer Espinal.

The cab, sitting outside the 110th Precinct with its panic light still blinking, has a camera inside, though it is unclear if it was working at the time of the assault.

Smith got away empty-handed, but left his wallet and phone inside the cab. He is described as 5'7", and 160 pounds with hazel eyes.

The attack is putting fellow livery cab drivers on edge.

"I got a little nerve, little nerve. I think about what happened. He hit him (right here) and put the knife and everything," says driver Eddie Castillo.

Vera's employers say he has been working for them for about five years. They say he is married with kids, and this is the first time he has ever been assaulted on the job.

Vera is not out of surgery, and is in stable condition, but is still rattled from the attack.

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newsqueens newsnew york cityslashingElmhurst
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