By Tony Aiello

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police in New Rochelle are looking for the suspect who shot and killed a taxi driver early Thursday morning.

Born 62 years ago in Mexico, Andres Valenzuela died Thursday morning in New Rochelle, shot twice while parking his taxi after completing a six-hour shift.

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Police say a cop on patrol spotted the injured man lying in the lot at Juliano’s Catering Hall.

“And found he had two, what appeared to be gunshot wounds that were obvious. He immediately started rendering aid, calling for help. They used an automatic external defibrillator,” New Rochelle Police Capt. Collins Coyne told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.

Valenzuela was pronounced dead at Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital.

He’d driven 10 years for Express City Taxi, sometimes working seven days a week.

“All the drivers are feeling bad, you know. Shocking. It’s a surprise. New Rochelle usually is a quiet city,” said Marcos Pazos, with Express City Taxi.

Valenzuela lived alone in a modest apartment down the street from the taxi office.

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“He’s a really good guy. I would just, like, see him. He always, we used to work the night shift and he was just a good guy. He always would just say hi to everybody. He was just a good guy in general,” neighbor J.P. Morfin said.

Police say robbery is one possible motive.

“We’re working out all the possibilities on the motive,” Coyne said.

Cops are checking surveillance video and asking the public for help.

New Rochelle police say there’s no reason for taxi drivers to be extra cautious because they should always be cautious. This is a notoriously hazardous job in cities large and small.

The City School District of New Rochelle released the following statement in response to the shooting:

“The City School District of New Rochelle was alerted early this morning about police activity near Juliano’s restaurant. Students who ordinarily attend a culinary arts program at Juliano’s were instead taken to House 4 at New Rochelle High School, which has remained open while other portions of the school undergo flooding repairs. Parents were alerted about the destination change. All students and staff are safe and were never in any danger, or near the scene.”

 

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This was the second homicide of 2021 in New Rochelle.

Tony Aiello