Theodore Beckles Remembered As Young Man Who Turned His Life Around

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Friends of a high school student are calling for justice after the 19-year-old was fatally stabbed outside his school.

Theodore Beckles of the Bronx was stabbed to death Thursday afternoon outside the building that houses the High School for Environmental Studies and Independence High on Manhattan’s West Side, where he was a student.

Police said it all started as a fight between girls at rival schools. Witnesses said the fight then escalated as several guys stepped in, including Beckles, who was trying to protect his pregnant girlfriend.

“His girl was in a fight and he didn’t want her to get hurt because she’s pregnant and so he’s trying to push her away and push other girls off of her and then stuff just happened,” said Beckles’ friend Mike Perez.

Scarlett Ramos said she saw it all happen.

“The girlfriend was trying to pull him away. Eventually they ran after him,” she said. “Teddy turns around and stands up for himself and then everybody got together and when four or five guys walk away, I see Teddy pull a knife out of his chest and just throw it at them.”

Ramos said she then watched in horror as Beckles collapsed right in front of her.

“The thing I most remember is Teddy’s face as he fell to the floor and that’s something that I still can’t get out of my mind,” she said.

“I was trying to stop him from bleeding and … I couldn’t,” friend Lizzete Paleas added.

He was rushed to the hospital and into surgery, but later died. Police said it’s still unclear who first pulled the knife.

“To think that one moment you’re on your way to a baseball game with your little brother and the next moment your little brother’s at the morgue identifying your body,” the victim’s great aunt, Santa Molina-Marshall, told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

Molina-Marshall spoke of a young man rebounding from a tough life that included a gun related arrest.

“In this last year, and it breaks my heart, Teddy had nearly pulled his life together and went back to school, had the girlfriend, you know, having a child, and got a job,” she said.

In the Bronx neighborhood where Beckles lived, friends were stunned and saddened over his tragic death.

“It’s always the good that go, the ones that you least expect it to happen to,” said Beckles’ friend, Robert Montalvo.

“He lived upstairs from me. We used to play video games together and everything. A good kid, you know?” Chris Riley added.

“I still can’t even believe it. It don’t even feel like he’s gone. It feels like he’s still here,” Kasheem Knight said.

Witnesses said they got a clear look at everyone involved and police said they’ve interviewed several of those people but have yet to arrest or charge anyone with a crime.

On Friday, Beckles’ devastated mom left with police, who were investigating yet another senseless act.

“Teddy is one of those guys who frivolously loses his life for some nonsensical thing,” Molina-Marshall said.

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