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Slain for his smile

A shocking confession in food deliveryman's killing

He was killed for his smile.

A 22-year-old parolee told cops yesterday he shot a Chinese-food deliveryman in a bungled Brooklyn robbery Tuesday after the man smiled and reached into his pocket, sources said.

"I told him it was a robbery and the guy smiled," shooting suspect Antoine Belton, 22, told detectives yesterday, according to a high-ranking police official.

"He reached into his pocket for something, so I shot him," Belton told cops.

The shocking confession came a day after two teenagers admitted placing a bogus order to lure deliveryman Jian Chun Lin, 36, to a Brownsville apartment building so they and Belton could rob him of $12 cash and $13 in food.

Belton was nabbed yesterday morning while sleeping at a cousin's house just blocks from the scene of the Union St. slaying. He was carrying a .38-caliber revolver believed to be the murder weapon, the source said.

The suspected gunman was paroled this year after serving a stint on a drug conviction and was living at the Bellevue Hospital men's shelter, officials said.

There was a warrant for his arrest for failing to keep appointments with his parole officer, officials said.

The heartless slaying - which echoed the murder of a Queens Chinese-food deliveryman two years ago by a group of teens - unfolded when Belton, Shaniqua Brown, 19, and 16-year-old Ernest Carroway were hanging out Tuesday night, officials said.

"They were talking about needing money, so one of the suspects suggested, 'Let's call the Chinese man and we'll rob him,'" the source said.

So about 8 p.m., Brown called the Happy House restaurant and placed a $13 order for General Tso's chicken, hot wings and French fries, to go to a fourth-floor apartment in her building, authorities said.

When the people in the fourth-floor apartment refused the food, Lin walked down the stairs and was ambushed on the second floor by Belton as Carroway kept lookout, police said.

No knife

Investigators initially believed the deliveryman pulled out a kitchen knife to defend himself, but Belton told cops he never saw a weapon, sources said.

After the fatal shot was fired, the would-be robbers fled, leaving behind the food and the $12 Lin was carrying, cops said.

Lin's mountain bike, which had vanished from the scene, turned up in front of the building yesterday, sources said.

Investigators still were trying to locate Lin's wife and two children in China. Lin moved to the United States about a year ago and was working to raise money to bring his family over, co-workers said.

He and three other Chinese immigrants lived above the Happy House restaurant.


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