NYPD: Croatian Historian Killed in Queens Park by Croatian Author

A Croatian author living in Queens fatally shot a 42-year-old friend inside Astoria Park Saturday afternoon over a failed real estate deal in northeast Italy, authorities say. 

The alleged gunman, 50-year-old Alexander Bonich and the victim, William Klinger, of Rome, Italy, were inside Astoria Park when they began to argue, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. 

Details of the real estate deal were unclear but Brown said Klinger had been seeking his friend's help "in starting a new life in this country."

When Klinger started to walk away, Bonich allegedly ordered him to stop. Klinger ignored his friend and walked on, and Bonich shot him once in the back of the head, according to prosecutors. 

Klinger fell to the ground, and Bonich allegedly shot him once more in the head, said prosecutors. 

Bonich then got rid of the clothes he was wearing, as well as all the weapons, ammunition and spent shells from the scene, according to prosecutors. 

Klinger was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead. 

NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters Monday that Bonich admitted to shooting Klinger with an antique revolver he later threw in the East River. 

Boyce described the 49-year-old Bonich as an author and translator.

He said detectives identified Bonich on surveillance cameras with Klinger before the Saturday shooting in Queens. He said investigators later watched him remove bags of Klinger's possessions from his home.

Boyce described Klinger, who was staying in Ridgewood, New Jersey, as an historian and expert on Yugoslavia's former leader, Josip Broz Tito.

He said the exact nature of the dispute over real estate wasn't clear.

Bonich is being held pending arraignment on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence. It's not clear if he has an attorney. 

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