Jose de la Cruz was walking home from his shift at a nearby market around 10:15 p.m. Friday in Springfield Gardens when he was stabbed multiple times.
Friends say they saw de la Cruz as he was leaving work, noticed he took a different route home but did not think anything of it at the time.
He was found lying in a crosswalk on Baisley Blvd and 134th Avenue, just feet from a hotel that was converted into a homeless shelter.
A security guard at the shelter discovered the body of de la Cruz and called police.
113th precinct officers arrived to find de la Cruz unconscious and unresponsive.
Police investigating fatal stabbing in Springfield Gardens. 54-year old man killed walking home from work. pic.twitter.com/pXATATIqam— Marcus Solis (@MarcusSolis7) February 1, 2020
Medics rushed him to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Inside, the deli co-workers were shocked and heartbroken.
"He had lost his job a few years back, so basically he was collecting bottles and working part-time at some grocery stores to make ends meet," said a relative. "Whatever money he makes, he sends back to his family in the Dominican Republic."
His family has no idea who would want to hurt him, but people in the area blame the new homeless shelter. They say bad things started happening once the shelter moved in.
Investigators say de la Cruz had $2 inside his pocket stolen, but robbery does not appear to be the motive.
Police are working to determine who stabbed him and why.
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