'He helped people': Family of slain NY cab driver speaks out after suspect's arrest

FORT GREENE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The family of a cab driver fatally shot in New Rochelle last week is speaking out after the man suspected in the murder was arrested in New York City following a shootout with police officers.

It happened Sunday at Myrtle Avenue and Fleet Walk in the Fort Green section of Brooklyn, near a NYCHA building complex where New Rochelle police and the FBI had been keeping watch while searching for 52-year-old Percell Lamont Ross in the shooting death of 62-yearold Andres Valenzuela outside an event hall early last Thursday.

Authorities said no one was injured in the gunfire, and that Ross, of Covington, Virginia, surrendered to officers when he ran out of bullets.

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Heart-broken and emotionally exhausted, Korehisi Valenzuela said she just wants justice for her father.

"Everyone here in New Rochelle knew my dad," the 38-year-old said outside Express City Taxi, where he faithfully served the city. "He was a hard-working person, friendly, respectful, and he helped people with whatever they needed."

Ross appeared in federal court Monday and was held without bail.

Investigators say he shot Valenzuela twice in the parking lot of Juliano's Caterers on Main Street, where a small memorial of flowers and candles marks the spot close to where he died.

Security camera video captured the moments late Sunday morning when Ross stepped outside the NYCHA complex and exchanged gunfire with police.

"It was a very stressful situation for these cops to get shot at," New Rochelle Police Capt. J. Collins Coyne said. "A moving target in a public area, a tremendous amount of trigger control."

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Luis Franco, the head of the New Rochelle Association of Taxi Drivers, said there is considerable relief among his roughly 150 members that a dangerous criminal is off the street.

"Happy, they are happy," he said. "They're glad and they are grateful for the cops and detectives and all the force...We appreciate their job and all the hard work that they did."

Coyne said that in addition to facing a murder charge for Valenzuela's death, Ross was wanted for attempted murder in Connecticut and for sex trafficking in Virginia.

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