An ex-con with a long rap sheet was arrested Sunday for allegedly murdering a good Samaritan who tried to break up violent stabbings outside of an alleged gambling den Friday in Brooklyn, N.Y.
William Smith, 45, was charged with murder, robbery, and three counts of assault. He is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Monday.
Yong Zheng, 46, died from four stab wounds in the chest. Three other men required medical attention for their injuries.
One of them, who is 39, was stabbed twice in the arm and once in the chest, the New York Daily News said. A 42-year-old man was stabbed in the lower back, the report adds. Both were transported to a local hospital.
A fourth man suffered a puncture wound. He did not go to the hospital.
New York cops apprehended Smith in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, the Daily News reported. Police were able to trace his car after it was spotted via surveillance cameras at the murder scene.
The stabbings took place Friday night in the Chinatown section of Brooklyn. It is located in the Sunset Park neighborhood.
Earlier that night, Zheng was celebrating the Chinese Lantern Festival at a nearby restaurant. He and some friends came upon the melee in front of the gambling den. Moments before the sidewalk erupted in bloodshed, two men allegedly robbed the illegal gambling den, located in a nearby building.
Zheng interceded on the sidewalk to assist the men, given the rise in crime directed against Asian Americans, according to WABC, a local TV station. Recently, Zheng worked as a bus driver. He is survived by a 14-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son.
Widow Wants Punishment
Jin Zhao, 39, Zheng’s widow, told WABC, her husband “didn’t know what was going on. He saw a crime, he tried to stop it.”
“They need to be punished — not my godbrother. He’s a good person,” Zheng’s godsister, Xiu Lin, told the TV station.
I want them all arrested, I want them to be executed,” Jin Zhao said about the suspects, the Daily News said. “Every time I look at my son, I think about the fact that he has no father.”
New York City residents with ancestral ties to the Fujian Province, which is along the coast of China, are donating money for the family.
Previously, Smith was convicted for manslaughter in connection with a 1996 death, WABC said. He spent 10 years in prison, the report adds.
His other arrests were for allegations of weapons possession, driving while intoxicated, and drug sales, the report added.
Earlier Gambling Den Violence in Brooklyn
The weekend stabbings follow other recent violence at an alleged illegal gambling den in Brooklyn.
In October, one victim died and three others were wounded following a fatal shooting at a suspected illegal gambling operation in Brooklyn.
The shooting took place in the back of Brooklyn’s G Spot thrift shop following a fight there. It is located in the Brownsville neighborhood of the borough.
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