Sources: Mistaken Identity May Not Have Played Role In Soccer Coach Slaying
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police sources told 1010 WINS Wednesday night they were discounting the theory that the murder of a youth soccer coach near Union Square last week was a case of mistaken identity.
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the NYPD has been working with officials in Mexico to find Orlando Orea, the suspect in the stabbing of youth soccer coach Michael Jones, 1010 WINS’ Holly Haerr reported.
Speaking before a celebration of Hispanic heritage, Kelly said he hadn’t heard whether officials had spotted Orea yet in his home country.
1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr reports
Initial reports said Orea had gotten into a bar fight inside Bunga’s Den on West 14th Street and may have thought Jones was part of that fight, but Kelly seemed to discount the theory.
“Nothing is 100 percent certain at this time. It appears that the victim was not in the bar,” Kelly said. “We believe that the people [Orea] had the fight with in the bar were perhaps Mexican. So we don’t believe that the victim was in that bar.”
Besides the murder, Kelly said the NYPD has been investigating whether anyone helped Orea hide, or get his one-way plane ticket.
1010 WINS’ John Montone reports
“We did execute a warrant on his apartment,” Kelly said. “He lives in the 104th precinct (in northwest Queens.) He lives there with his brother.”
When authorities identified Orea, also known as Orlando Gutierrez or Orlando Estevas, he was placed on a no-fly list. But authorities said he was already gone.
He purchased a one-way ticket to Mexico City on an Aero Mexico flight just moments before it was scheduled to leave John F. Kennedy Airport, police said.
As of Wednesday night, police did not have a motive in the stabbing.
Just before he was killed, surveillance video captured Jones walking and possibly arguing with a man, identified by authorities Tuesday as Orea. Moments later, Jones was found stabbed to death on the sidewalk.
Meanwhile Wednesday, friends, family and soccer players attended an emotional memorial service for Jones.
Wearing “Jonesy” jerseys with the number 6 emblazoned on the back, mourners gathered at a memorial given by the New York Red Bulls and the Armonk United Soccer Club at First Baptist Church in White Plains to remember the 25-year-old coach.
Their beloved “Coach Mike” was killed Sunday morning while walking on 14th Street near Union Square.
WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reports
“Everybody is in complete shock right now,” David Jervis, director of Red Bulls youth program, told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown. “For those that met Michael, ‘Jonesy’ as we know him, you only had to meet him once to know what impression he left on all the kids he worked with.”
“The loss that we’ve suffered is immeasurable,” said Cathryn Kaehr, whose son was coached by Jones for five years. “Mike Jones was a hero to so many kids in the community.”
Jones’ father, Perry Jones, expressed heartache from Liverpool, England.
“I think we’re all really in a state of shock,” he told the BBC. “It’s unbelievable.”
1010 WINS’ John Montone reports
Jones moved to the U.S. five years ago and lived in West Harrison in Westchester County and began coaching with the Red Bulls youth program.
“If I was chatting with him before a game, he’d look at his watch and say ‘Gotta go. I only have a few minutes left to change their lives,'” Kaehr said.
His closest friends and colleagues promise their coach won’t be forgotten and are vowing their friend’s alleged killer will pay.
“We just hope for the sake of all of his friends, his mom, his dad, that they do catch the suspect as soon as possible,” said Jervis.
Jones’ body will be sent back home to Liverpool for burial.
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