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Wheelchair Battle Turns Deadly

In: News

Posted By: The Booze at 4:42 pm

21 Dec 2009

Gothamist – Two wheelchair-bound residents of an East Village shelter got into a deadly argument early yesterday morning. Witnesses say that 24-year-old Ronal Garcia was killed after being stabbed repeatedly by 51-year-old suspect Felipe Rivera-Cruz after the pair exchanged insults.

Police were first called to the Barrier-Free Living facility on East Second Street about an hour before the stabbing to break up a fight between the two men that started when the younger man took offense to something the older man said. “[Cruz] was talking about his [Garcia’s] genitals — you have a short one this, you have a short one that,” Garcia’s roommate told the Post. So Garcia struck Cruz in the head twice with the footrest of his wheelchair, knocking him to the ground and giving him a “miniature gash” on the forehead.

Police arrived and Cruz urged them to look at surveillance video of the altercation because he reportedly wanted to press charges, but the officers left without taking action. Witnesses said police assumed Cruz was drunk and said he might have fallen out of his wheelchair, though the NYPD insisted that neither wanted to press charges nor needed medical attention.

After the officers exited the facility — where Cruz had lived for a year and a half and Garcia for month — the older man went up to his room, retrieved a homemade folding knife, and used his faster motorized wheelchair to catch up to Garcia, who relied on a slower manual wheelchair. Cruz then and stabbed Garcia more than a dozen times until a security guard wrestled away the knife at around 4:20 am, according to witnesses, who said they watched the crime unfold on a surveillance video monitor. Garcia was pronounced dead at Beth Israel Medical Center, while Cruz was charged with murder and possession of a weapon.

I realize this is a horrible tragedy, but I would imagine the security tape footage of the wheelchair chase would be quite funny…up until the stabbing part of course. I picture it in my head right now, in fast forward, set to the benny hill theme song. Damn, that song makes anything funny.

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