Nov. 17, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
The police have charged a Queens father with murder after he allegedly beat his 3-year-old son to death inside a homeless shelter in Elmhurst Sunday.
Shaquan Butler, 26, has been arrested and charged with murder for allegedly killing the toddler inside the Boulevard Family Residence — a family homeless shelter located at 79-00 Queens Blvd.
Butler is also facing manslaughter charges after his son – who shares his father’s full name — died of blunt force trauma to the torso having been found by police battered and bruised inside the facility Sunday, according to police and reports.
The toddler had a faint pulse when emergency services arrived on the scene at around 7:40 p.m. and he was then transported by EMS to NYC Health & Hospital/Elmhurst but could not be saved, police said.
Police are still trying to piece together the circumstances surrounding the child’s death inside the shelter, which previously operated as the Pan American Hotel.
The victim’s mother had told police that the child began to act strange and was choking on food when he ran into a pole and struck his head on the floor. She then called 911 for help, the NYPD said.
However, police say that her story is inconsistent with the nature of the child’s injuries.
The toddler was found by responding police unconscious and unresponsive with bruises all over his body that were in different stages of healing, according to the NYPD. The child also had a collapsed lung.
Police questioned both parents after the incident and then arrested the father, the NYPD announced late Wednesday.
The young victim had two siblings — a 2-year-old and an 11-month-old — and all three children were taken into child protection services in late September before being returned to their parents the following month, according to the New York Daily News.
The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) said it is aware of the child’s passing and is investigating the matter with the NYPD.
“Our top priority is protecting the safety and wellbeing of all children in New York City,” an ACS spokesperson said in a statement.
The victim’s parents both have criminal records, according to reports, with the father having been arrested for gang assault, inciting a riot, criminal mischief, petty larceny, grand larceny and weapons possession.
The boy’s mother has been arrested for weapons possession and grand larceny. She is on probation for grand larceny, the New York Daily News reported.