A 44-year-old man died after being stabbed multiple times throughout his body Sept. 12 in front of 130 W. 228th St. in Marble Hill, police have reported.
At 6:30 p.m., officers from the 50th Precinct responded to a 911 call for an assault in front of the building. Upon arrival, officers saw the victim, Juan Martinez of 125 W.228th St., who was rushed to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital by EMS, where he was pronounced dead.
There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing. Early reports indicated police were searching for a white BMW coupe with tinted windows whose driver fled in the wrong direction of a one-way street.
The vehicle was occupied by two people, police said. Those two people were a man and a woman according to a man on West 228th Street a day after the stabbing.
“The man opened the door and stabbed the guy three or four times,” the witness told The Riverdale Press. “And then they ran and” went.
The woman apparently stayed in the car while the man stabbed Martinez. Though the victim’s uncle, James Jordan, told The Press he heard that in addition to the man stabbing Martinez in the neck the “wife” also stabbed Martinez in the back.
Jordan described his sister’s son as a good kid at school and work. He worked in security until the Covid-19 virus and took classes at CUNY colleges, according to published reports.
He called his nephew’s killers’ act cowardly and assured they would get caught. Family members of Martinez believe the stabbing was a case of mistaken identity.
The victim’s parents told the Daily News just moments before the stabbing Martinez was walking with his mother and niece when the man and woman hopped out of a car. The male attacker accused Martinez of “hurting” his son at the nearby John F. Kennedy High School, said Martinez’s father, George Laboy.
Despite Martinez telling his attacker he had nothing to do with the alleged incident, the attacker said he didn’t care and stabbed him regardless, Laboy told the Daily News, allegedly murdering his son in front of both his wife and 5-year-old granddaughter.
“Whatever the situation was, for somebody to take the law into their own hands and not seek other means is unjustifiable,” Laboy told The Press, just one day after his son was killed. Now there stands a candlelight vigil made by Martinez’s friends.
“My son died here on the sidewalk,” Laboy said. “When I came downstairs, I’m telling them, they’re working on him, and I’m like ‘what are you waiting for?’ ‘Oh, an ambulance.’ An ambulance? Put him in the car, take him to the ER. He arrived DOA. They waited too long. “There’s so much bull. It’s aggravating. And something needs to be done about it. There’s no reason for this to continue like this. It’s not just this project but… all of these projects, everywhere.”
Laboy said he believes that the stabbing partially stems from the flow of students at John F. Kennedy High School, which is only about a five-minute walk away from the apartment he shared with his son.
Students trespass in the building every single day, Laboy said, coming in droves and smoking marijuana in the building.
“I’m sick and tired of nobody doing anything,” Laboy said. “It’s not just me, it’s all of the tenants in this building. These children are so disrespectful, you can’t say nothing to them. You’re a minor, you shouldn’t even be smoking.”
Willie Lidge, a man whose aunt lives in the apartment, described it as a good building where you can see Dominican residents playing dominoes and grandmas hanging out. However, it is a different story when the kids at JFK get out, he says.
“You know Kennedy? You know, that’s where like all the chaos comes from like two to like seven,” Lidge said. “They bring that school (expletive) down here.”
Calls about minors smoking were met with delayed responses, Laboy said.
“You call PD, PD takes an hour to come,” Laboy said. “By the time they come, kids are gone. They don’t take an hour to smoke a joint. They need to be more proactive.”
Laboy said he’s not suggesting they arrest all of these kids or give summons. But rather have one or two police officers standing outside to act as a deterrent in the same way a police presence at a bank would prevent a robber from entering.
A citation for trespassing could also inspire parents to discipline their children when they get a fine of $150, he said.
The grieving father also criticized the state of the apartment, for its role in contributing to crimes, like his son’s stabbing.
“This door has been broken for years,” Laboy said, referring to the door at 125 W. 228th St. “This scaffolding has been up for three years, no work being done on the side of this building, which is inexcusable and it also prevents the police department when certain activities are going on and they try to get access to the surveillance cameras.”
The sidewalk and apartment where Martinez was killed was drenched in the shadow of a sidewalk shed, the metal coverings likely obscuring the surveillance camera from getting a good look of the stabbing.
“It’s a prison here,” Laboy said. “It makes you feel trapped. The tenants can’t even sit out here no more. And you know, the benches are blocked off. The playground in the back is surrounded by fences, it’s like they’re in jail. What is this, Folsom Prison, or something?”
According to the city building’s department, the sidewalk shed at 125 W. 228th St. has had an active permit for just a little bit under a year. In New York City, there are about 8,800 active sidewalk sheds, with 128 in the greater Riverdale area.
Mayor Eric Adams recently announced the “Get Sheds Down” plan that incentivizes property owners to complete work and ultimately get the sheds down.
Because of the conditions at Laboy’s apartment, he has encouraged local electeds like Councilman Eric Dinowitz and state Sen. Robert Jackson to visit and see the conditions they’re living in, such as the front doors that need replacing.
He also said that with the money that city officials have been spending on shelters they could’ve at least bought them a new door.
“As far as whatever the situation was,” Laboy said. “I have no idea what was the cause of this, but be as it may, no one should take the law into their own hands. No one. Then it’s like you’re a vigilante.”