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Queens child, 3, killed at homeless shelter – namesake father charged, cops say

Queens child dies in homeless shelter
File photo/Lloyd Mitchell

Homicide detectives in Queens have charged the father of a 3-year-old boy who was found fatally beaten inside a homeless shelter over the weekend.

Officers from the 110th Precinct found Little Shaquan Butler unconscious and unresponsive, with bruises about his body, inside the Boulevard Family Residence shelter at 79-00 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst at about 7:40 p.m. on Nov. 13.

Police were initially called to the shelter after receiving a 911 call from Butler’s mother, who claimed that the child had been choking on food, law enforcement sources said.

That story appeared to be a ruse, and police charged the child’s father — Shaquan Butler, 26 — on Nov. 16 with murder and two manslaughter charges.

EMS rushed the little Butler to nearby Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. His body was transferred to the Medical Examiner’s office, which conducted an autopsy that concluded Butler had died from blunt force injuries to his torso, sources familiar with the case said.

Queens child dies in homeless shelter
The Samaritan Village homeless shelter at 79-00 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, Queens.Photo via Google Maps

Butler’s father and mother were interviewed as part of the ongoing probe, police sources said; both parents were known to the NYPD for prior domestic incidents, a law enforcement source noted.

The father has an extensive rap sheet, including 28 prior arrests for hate crimes, petit larceny, menacing, gang assaults, inciting to riot, burglary and more.

Anyone with information regarding the homicide can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

Formerly known as the Pan American Motor Inn, the Boulevard Family Residence opened in 2014 to great controversy, as local residents protested the placement of some 200 homeless families at the location. Six years ago, the shelter came under scrutiny after it was reported that several registered sex offenders had been living among family members.

Despite that issue, the city gave nonprofit Samaritan Village a new contract to run the Boulevard Family Residence in 2017.

This story was updated on Nov. 16 at 4:30 p.m.

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