NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hours after lighting the cake with his fiance at their engagement party Friday night on Staten Island, 27-year-old Anthony Lacertosa was killed.
“He was the happiest at this moment in his life, ready to start his own life, start his own family,” said Joseph Lacertosa, the victim’s brother.
“We’ll never get him back. It’s just a stupid, senseless thing,” he told CBS 2′s Ann Mercogliano.
Police say Lacertosa was stabbed outside the Espana restaurant in Annadale around 2 a.m. Saturday after a night of engagement celebrations there and at another restaurant.
Witnesses say it started with a dispute, but police won’t confirm accounts that it was a restaurant employee who pulled the knife.
“What I’m told is everything died down already and my brother was on his way out the front. And this other man who went back to the kitchen to get a knife saw my brother. I don’t know. I guess he saw my brother and thought he was a part of it, and he killed my brother,” Joseph said.
Family members say Lacertosa’s half brother and fiance, Bridgette Schneider, tried to save his life by performing CPR.
The two were high school sweethearts, and Schneider was too devastated Sunday to talk about that night.
“He was always smiling, always happy, always there. He was always the first one to throw himself in front of anything, and that’s it,” Joseph said.
The victim worked in construction and loved the water. His boat now sits idle in front of the family home.
Lacertosa leaves behind seven siblings, and the love of his life, who are now planning a funeral instead of a wedding.
Long time neighbor Nasser Selami said he never knew Lacertosa to get in to arguments.
“He was a good kid. Never caused any trouble. Always kept to himself, never into any trouble in the neighborhood,” he said.
Police interviewed several restaurant workers and took footage from a security camera installed on the pharmacy next door.
“My heart goes out to that kid’s family. It’s a horrible thing that happened,” witness John Perrotta told CBS 2′s Dave Carlin.
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