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New York: Cab dispatcher dies following assault by enraged driver

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Efrain Patino Guerra, a 53-year-old cab dispatcher, tragically passed away on June 27, succumbing to injuries sustained during a violent encounter outside the Hotel Riu Plaza Manhattan Times Square.

The incident, which occurred on June 17, unfolded as Guerra was diligently assigning fares to drivers at the cab stand on West 47th Street near Seventh Avenue when he was confronted by a furious motorist, Jaime Rosario, 54.

According to NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny, Guerra had inadvertently skipped Rosario while assigning fares, prompting the latter to confront him in a fit of rage. In a shocking act of violence, Rosario delivered a sucker punch to Guerra’s face. Video evidence reveals the devastating impact of the blow, as Guerra was knocked unconscious while still standing, subsequently collapsing and hitting his head on the concrete.

“He’s very, very much bigger than Mr. Patino,” Chief Kenny remarked, underscoring the disparity in their physical statures. The severe head injury Guerra sustained proved fatal, leading to his death ten days later.

In the immediate aftermath, Rosario was apprehended by the NYPD and charged with second-degree assault, a felony. However, during court proceedings, the charge was reduced to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, due to the legal criteria for a felony charge—intent to cause serious physical injury or the use of a weapon—not being met. Law enforcement sources indicated that Rosario’s single punch did not satisfy these conditions.

As a result of the reduced charge and the bail reforms enacted in 2020, Rosario was granted supervised release, as the misdemeanor charge is not bail-eligible. This decision has sparked discussions about the implications of current bail reform laws and the legal thresholds for assault charges.

The tragic death of Efrain Patino Guerra has left a profound impact on the community, raising questions about the adequacy of legal responses to violent acts and the protection of workers in service industries.

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