EAST NEW YORK - Police are searching for the person who killed a man driving a cab in East New York early Thursday morning.
Officers say 35-year-old Rafael Veras was found stabbed several times in his torso. He was in the front seat of the car on the corner of Shepherd and Dumont avenues. They say a call came in about the stabbing just before 1 a.m. Thursday.
Police say Veras was taken to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
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Other cab drivers say the neighborhood is known for having a lot of crime and that cab drivers in particular are constant targets for robberies.
Veras' family says he had just come back from the Dominican Republic after a three-month trip there. They say he was looking to move back home into the house he built.
Veras leaves behind a 16-year-old son and mother. Veras' cousin Marya Flores says they are desperate for answers to a crime no one saw coming.
Officials with the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers say Veras was in the process of getting his license. In the meantime, Veras' brother loaned him his cab so he could make some money. However, they say he wasn't trained and shouldn't have been working the late shift in a high-crime neighborhood.
Federation founder Fernando Mateo says Veras' death could have been prevented if the NYPD didn't cut funding for a safety program the group developed. He says there was a surveillance camera in the car Veras was driving and hopes NYPD officials are able to use it to identify a suspect.
Police say no arrests have been made.