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Bike messenger arrested in death of Merrick man after dispute in Manhattan, says NYPD

An NYPD patrol car is seen in this

An NYPD patrol car is seen in this undated photo. Credit: iStock

NYPD officers arrested a Manhattan bike messenger and charged him with manslaughter after a fight over elevator use at a Park Avenue South tower left a Merrick man working there dead, authorities said Wednesday.

Officers found Roger Balan, 58, unconscious shortly after 12:10 p.m. Tuesday outside midtown's 432 Park Ave. South, the NYPD said. Balan was transported to Bellevue Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Devon Givens, 35, of 255 Havemeyer St., in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, was tracked down later Tuesday at the office of his employer and arrested, police said. He was charged with manslaughter in connection with Balan's death, police said.

Givens had not yet had a court appearance Wednesday night, court officials said.

The fight began after Givens and Balan argued over use of the tower's elevator. Police said Givens wanted the elevator to take him directly to the floor where he was making a delivery. He became "unhappy over the fact that people using the elevator actually wanted to stop at [their] floors," a spokesman said.

After Givens made a 15th-floor delivery and entered the elevator, passengers got in on the 13th and 12th floors, police said, adding that an apparently aggravated Givens argued with others in the car.

Passengers told Balan about Givens' behavior once the elevator reached the lobby floor and the two men argued outside the building, police said.

"There was a physical confrontation," the NYPD spokesman said. "It looks like the guy [Givens] who was arrested threw a punch, at which time the victim grabbed his chest."

The spokesman said Givens then continued to assault Balan before fleeing.

It appeared Balan, who had no obvious signs of trauma, may have had a medical episode during the confrontation but a cause of death won't be known until an autopsy is performed, the spokesman said.

A woman who answered the door at Balan's home in Merrick said the family "had nothing to say."

With Maria Alvarez and Kevin Deutsch

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