A Queens community activist who collected teddy bears for homeless kids and helped start a volunteer ambulance service was found slain in his printing shop last night, the victim of a possible robbery.
Richard Trupkin, 64, had been shot several times in the head and body, police said.
A neighbor discovered him about 5 p.m. in the basement of the Lamarr Printing and Offset Co., on Roosevelt Ave., near 57th St. in Woodside.
Trupkin, of Valley Stream, L.I., had owned the business since 1966 and had been a major fixture in the community.
City Councilman Walter McCaffrey (D-Woodside) said he knew Trupkin for more than 20 years and described him as a “really sweet guy.”
“Any time anything had to be done in the neighborhood, Rich was always there, Johnny on the spot,” McCaffrey said.
“This is a tremendous loss,” said Witold Rak, president of the Woodside chapter of the Kiwanis Club. “He gave his time and energy to make Woodside special.”
Rak said Trupkin, a former president of the club, had recently helped organize a raffle to raise money for community projects such as purchasing food for the needy.
Trupkin had sold the winning raffle ticket and had just received $5,000 to hand over to the winner yesterday.
Police were trying to determine if Trupkin was targeted for the winnings, said a source familiar with the investigation. Detectives found the $5,000 in Trupkin’s desk, but a petty cash box on the first-floor apparently had been rifled, sources said.
Trupkin usually kept the front door of his printing shop locked while he worked in the basement. The neighbor became suspicious when she found the door unlocked but Trupkin was not upstairs.
In a 1993 Daily News profile, Trupkin said the best part of his job as an activist was “seeing the fruits of volunteer labor.”
Trupkin, who published a monthly local paper called The Woodsider, was a former member of Community Planning Board 2 in Queens and was founder of a safe haven program for youngsters among merchants in the area.
Ed Fowley, the “unofficial mayor of Woodside” and fellow community activist, said Trupkin had recently collected about two dozen teddy bears for homeless children at Bellevue Hospital.
“Rich will be sorely missed, ” he said.
Original Story Date: 121896