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A livery cab driver was shot and killed in his car in Long Island City late Friday night in a crime that shocked the neighborhood, police, area residents and workers said.
Jaroslaw Bielawski, 62, of Brooklyn, was found dead in his car with a bullet in his head around 11:30 p.m. Friday outside his company’s headquarters on 11th Street in Long Island City, police said. A New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers official said Bielawski drove for Crosslands Corporate Transportation, which is based in Long Island City.
“I heard some loud noises like gun shots last night, but I didn’t actually believe they could be gunshots,” said Jason, a resident who lives in the neighborhood but who did not want to give his last name for fears about safety. “Then I saw a car had smashed into the wall, and I knew something very bad had happened. I’ve only been living here for about a year, but I’ve never heard of anything like this happening on this street.”
Police said two men attacked Bielawski and fled in a car. The suspects have not been caught, police said. Bielawski was pronounced dead at Cornell Medical Center.
Gesh Ging, an employee at the All City Switchboard Corp., located across from Crosslands, said Bielawski’s car crashed into his company’s gate after the Brooklyn resident had been shot.
Ging said the car was still at the scene of the crime when he arrived at work a little before 6 a.m. Saturday. Police kept him away from his workplace until around 9 a.m., he said.
“Nothing like this has happened before,” Ging said. “It’s a safe neighborhood.”
The murder occurred not far from St. Rita’s Roman Catholic Church on a street lined with numerous auto repair and parts shops, as well as a few apartment buildings.
Life for livery cab drivers has been especially dangerous lately, according to police. Police said they were searching for a suspect who has gone on a robbery spree of livery cab drivers that began Dec. 12 at about 1:50 a.m. on 106th Avenue in Jamaica.
A livery cab driver had been dispatched to 106th Avenue in Jamaica to pick up a passenger, after which two men entered the car, flashed a gun and demanded money, according to police. The men stole an unknown amount of cash, police said.
Another livery cab driver was sent to the same address Dec. 31 at 12:55 a.m., when a man threatened the driver with a knife and made off with cash, police said.
Police would not say whether they believe the murder in Long Island City was related to the robberies.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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