A Queens father has been arrested in the death of a 3-year-old boy who died inside a homeless shelter over the weekend.
Police were called to the scene on Queens Boulevard on Sunday night because Shaquan Butler was choking, but officers discovered that the 3-year-old had bruises all over his body. They rushed the unconscious boy to the hospital where doctors say he died from a heart attack and collapsed lung.
Young Shaquan’s mother allegedly told officers her son was choking on a piece of food and had run into the wall.
His father, also named Shaquan Butler, was arrested two days later, authorities said Wednesday. The 26-year-old was charged with murder and manslaughter, police said.
The tragedy left other shelter residents, “It’s just horrible. It’s just sad. It’s just a horrible situation,” said shelter resident Michelle Washington.
In a statement, the Department of Social Services said: “This is a heartbreaking tragedy. We offer our deepest condolences to all who have been impacted and stand ready to provide them with any support we can during this incredibly difficult time.”
It’s unclear whether the boy’s 21-year-old mother will face any charges.