Ex-Convict Arrested in Murder of Good Samaritan Who Helped Fellow Asians Fight Robbery

fatal stabbing

A former convict has been arrested and charged in connection to the fatal stabbing of the Good Samaritan who tried to intervene in a fight involving thieves and Asian victims in Brooklyn. 

Identified as William Smith, 45, the ex-con is now facing murder charges for the death of Yong Zheng, 46, who died after he was stabbed with a screwdriver during the fight in Sunset Park on Friday night, reports NY Daily News.

Smith, who has previously served time for killing a person 25 years ago, got involved in an altercation after robbing an Asian-owned establishment, taking cash and phones from the victims. 

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As NextShark previously reported, Zheng and other pedestrians came across two groups of men fighting each other near Seventh Ave. and 57th St. at around 9:30 p.m.

In a bid to deescalate the situation, Zheng and others rushed to intervene in the fight that had already taken a portion of the sidewalk. Smith and at least two accomplices had reportedly robbed a gambling den on 58th St. and their victims chased them outside.

Smith had brandished a screwdriver while his accomplices attacked the victims with blades. Three other men were also stabbed during the violent confrontation, but they are now in stable condition.

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Zheng, who was stabbed four times, was rushed to NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

The Fukien American Association has initiated a fundraising effort for Zheng’s family.

Surveillance footage showed Smith wearing a black hoodie with a smiley face design at the night of the murder which he later confessed to, authorities revealed.

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According to a police source, a witness was able to take a picture of the license plate of the white Mercedes-Benz Smith was driving and share it with the police. Officers tracked the car in Bushwick, where he was apprehended early Saturday. 

Prior to getting charged with robbery and assault in addition to murder on Sunday evening, Smith has had 13 arrests, with the most recent for DWI in 2010 and selling drugs in 2007. Investigators are still looking for his accomplices.

Based on his previous records, Smith was also arrested for murder in 1996 and ultimately convicted of manslaughter and weapon possession. Sentenced to five to 15 years in prison, Smith was conditionally released by parole in February 2006.

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Zheng’s wife Jin Zhao, 39, was in tears as she said she wanted all the attackers to get arrested and executed. 

 “Every time I look at my son, I think about the fact that he has no father,” she was quoted as saying.

Feature Images via CeFaan Kim (left), Eyewitness News ABC7NY (right)

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