Day Laborer Found Dead With Stab Wounds in Abandoned Williamsburg Building

By Trevor KappBen Fractenberg and Wil Cruz  on October 16, 2012 9:34am  | Updated on October 16, 2012 2:40pm

WILLIAMSBURG — A homeless day laborer was found in a pool of blood early Tuesday in an abandoned building in Williamsburg, police and friends said.

The man, whom friends affectionately called "Honduras," was found with several stab wounds to his neck on the second floor of the vacant building at the corner of South Fourth Street and Bedford Avenue.

"He was face down. There was a lot of blood from his head," said Cuba Castellano, 57, a friend who found the man. "I saw him and tried to get him up. I was yelling, 'Get up! Get up!'

"I just shook him, but he was too stiff," added Castellano, who said his friend was wearing a jacket, jeans and boots. "He was dead already."

Emergency responders pronounced the man dead at the scene about 8:30 a.m., an FDNY spokesman said. He was in his 30s, police said.

Castellano, who sometimes stayed with the man in the empty building, said he saw the man last night and his spirits were up.

"[Monday] night, he was a happy man," Castellano said. "He was normal. We were in the park laughing and reading the newspaper."

The NYPD said the death was under investigation. Detectives did not recover a knife at the scene.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

A police source said the four-story building was under construction but has been vacant for two years.

Cops, who would not release the victim's name until his family was notified of his death, said no one was in custody.

Friends said the man, who had a wife and children who lived in Texas, hustled for odd jobs daily on Williamsburg corners popular with day laborers.

"He used to hang out on the corner looking for work," said Paul Sandoz, 50. "Every time it snowed, he used to shovel with me."

Sandoz, who knew the man for three years, said he had a knack for getting hired for daily work.

"In the day, he'd flag down guys who would hire him," Sandoz said. "He was a hell of a worker. He was very strong. I would always tell him, 'Man, you always find work,' and he'd say, 'No one wants to do the hard work.'

"He came here to get a better life," Sandoz added, "and look what happened."

Beyond his work ethic, locals knew the man for his positive attitude despite not having a home.

"He got along with everybody," said Evelyn Ruiz, 45, who said the victim gave her a lollipop Monday. "Everybody knows him.

"It's so sad," she added. "He was such a good guy."

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