2015-02-25 / Front Page

Hunt Fake Livery Driver In Chef Murder

BY LIZ GOFF
Queens detectives are searching for a motorist who posed as a livery driver and beat to death a three-year-old Astoria man on February 20.

Cops said Jose Antonio Cocuyo-Malaga, who worked as a chef at a nearby Bearburger Restaurant, stopped off with a co-worker for a bite to eat at a local diner after finishing his shift early on February 20.

When the two men hailed what they believed was a livery cab at about 2:30 a.m. on Vernon Boulevard and 50th Avenue, the driver agreed to take them to Astoria where Cocuyo-Malaga lived with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, police sources said.

Sources said the two men became suspicious and turned down the ride when they realized there were two men in the front seat of the car.

The driver and his passenger became enraged when the men refused the ride, the sources said. The men jumped out of the car and started arguing with Cocuyo-Malaga and his friend, and the dispute turned deadly when the driver grabbed Cocuyo-Malaga and bashed his head into the pavement, law enforcement sources said.

The attack took place less than 200 feet from the front entrance to the 108th Precinct stt,, but no one who witnessed the assault ran to alert police at the Long Island City stationhouse, the sources said.

Cocuy o-Malaga was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His shaken companion was not seriously injured, authorities said.

The suspect and his “passenger” fled in an unknown direction, leaving behind the killer’s Gray Chevy Caprice Classic sedan. The vehicle, with South Carolina license plates, was tagged as evidence and towed to an NYPD storage facility for use in the murder investigation.

Police are urging anyone with information to call the Crime Stoppers HOTLINE at 1-800-577-TIPS or click on www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

The HOTLINE is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone with information leading oo the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

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