NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 14-year-old boy was fatally stabbed outside of a school in the Bronx on Wednesday, and a boy of the same age has been taken into custody and charged with murder.
The suspect, Noel Estevez of the Bronx, was charged as an adult with second-degree murder and manslaughter late Wednesday night, police said.
But as CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, neighbors and family friends said the alleged assailant had been the victim of bullying, and one even argued that the teen who was arrested was in the right.
“It was for self-defense!” said family friend Marisol Perez. “It was self-defense what he did!”
Police said Estevez was arrested on allegations that he stabbed his classmate, Timothy Crump, around 3 p.m. Wednesday outside of I.S. 117 at 1865 Morris Ave. in the Tremont section of the Bronx.
Witnesses said a steady stream of students was exiting the building when the victim and suspect started quarreling on the sidewalk just outside the school doors.
Terrified classmates watched the gruesome scene unfold.
“I just seen two people, they were just fighting,” one student told Sanchez. “There was two people fighting and one just pulled out a knife and stabbed him. He stopped, and he went back, and he just dropped to the floor and started bleeding. And then the security guard and all of them just came and tried to help him, and they brought the boy with the knife into the school.”
“The security put his gloves on and he started to help him. And then a teacher went to her car, and she got a towel so they could stop the bleeding,” added witness Jaylene Then.
EMS rushed the Crump to Bronx Lebanon Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police said he was stabbed multiple times.
The kitchen knife was recovered, and the suspect was in custody, police said.
Police said investigators believe the victim may have robbed his alleged assailant at some point in the past, but stressed they’re still investigating what caused the dispute.
And Perez came to the suspect’s defense in the stabbing, claiming Crump was part of a group that had been bullying the suspect for months.
“He hasn’t been coming to school because he’s been bullied. He tried to commit suicide two weeks ago,” Perez said. “They had him in BronxCare Hospital, in the hospital. He was in the hospital for two weeks.”
Lazaro Batista, who lives in the same building as the suspect, likewise told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman that the boy had been bullied so badly that he tried to kill himself and had been out of school for months. Tuesday was his first day back at school, neighbors said.
“Every day, he would come to me and tell me, ‘Blue, listen, can you walk with me to the store? Can I come outside and play in the yard with your kids? Can you watch me? Can you make sure, if you see any big kids come after me, can you help me?'” Batista said.
Added another neighbor, Marisol Perez, told Silverman: “He told his father they were still bullying him. And he came to school today, and look what happened.
“He did it because he was scared,” Perez added. “He say, ‘If I don’t do it, they’re going to kill me.”
Neighbors told 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr that some of the bullies came to the building where the suspect lived and called for him, warning him not to come outside.
“Yesterday, just yesterday he said ‘I’m scared because they constantly, always threatening me. They’re gonna kill me,'” said Stephanie Arroyo.
Police have not confirmed the neighbors’ accounts.
Meanwhile, Crump’s neighbors said they cannot imagine him bullying anyone.
“Timothy is not that type of person,” said neighbor Tyrone Rivers. “He’s not a troublemaker. He’s not.”
Family friends Wednesday night were criticizing school administrators for not doing enough to help the suspect’s classmate conflicts.
“People want to now look at it,” Batista said. “You should have looked at it when his mother gave various reports to the (44th) Precinct, and various complaints to the school, and various complaints to (the Administration for Children’s Services.)”
As for Crump, he was supposed to graduate from the eighth grade next week. But now, his family has begun planning his funeral.
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