A homeless man who neighbors said was a fixture around Bayside was found dead on a bench outside the Bayside railroad train station on 41st Avenue early Friday.
The man, identified as William Bateman, was spotted motionless on a bench at around 7 a.m., according to Ahmed Ifdikhar, who runs the newsstand at the train station.
“I saw him at around 5 a.m. and he was alive, I think. Then I saw he wasn’t moving, so I called the police,” Ifdikhar said. “I’ve seen him here for years. I never had a problem with him.”
No cause of death was known, but police said they do not suspect criminality and the investigation was ongoing.
Police brought Horace Brown, who had known Bateman for a number of years, to the scene to identify the body. Brown said he had lived with Bateman in Bayside for a while, but kicked him out when his drinking became a problem.
“He was a nice fella, but he was a drinker and he didn’t believe in showering, so my wife said he had to go,” said Brown, who added Bateman’s brother told him he had been in and out of the hospital with liver problems recently. “He was a loner. He just wanted to drink alone and watch the trains.”
Passers-by stopped by the small park adjacent to the train station to ask about the homeless man who had died. Frank Collins, said he was one of many residents in the neighborhood who would speak to Bateman on a regular basis.
“We knew him as Broadway Bill because he worked at an old lumber store in Bayside called Broadway Lumber,” said Collins. “He said he was planning to move to Alabama after Labor Day to live with his sister and try to quit drinking.”
©2012 Community News Group
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