17, No. 5
26 - Mar. 10, 2004
Norwood Teen Stabbed to Death
By ABIGAIL GOLDMAN
In the early morning hours of Feb. 15, Norwood resident Victor Garcia, 18, was leaving a
party on the Grand Concourse, headed toward his girlfriend's house, when he was
attacked and stabbed to death by a group of young men near Kingsbridge Road.
While it is unclear how many people were involved, fellow Walton High School senior
Charles Mainer, 17, who was with Garcia at the time of the attack, said as many as 20
boys may have confronted Garcia. Mainer told the Daily News that he heard someone
yell, "Get off the block if you don't live here," though the motive for the attack remains
unknown. According to a police report, Garcia was stabbed four times in the torso and
once in the side. An ambulance took Garcia to St. Barnabas Hospital (SBH) just after 2
a.m. He was pronounced dead an hour and a half later.
The police have arrested 17-year-old Angel Castro on charges of second-degree murder
in connection with the case. A second suspect has yet to be accounted for.
Garcia's family and friends are grieving and in shock. A devoted athlete whose greatest
aspirations were to play professional baseball and provide for his family, Garcia was
described as a "good kid" who worked with the elderly and loved his sport. "It hurts us
more to believe it was him," said Alexandra Estevez, 17, Garcia's girlfriend, inside the
family's apartment on East 207th Street. "He was sweet and charming with everyone. He
was friends with everyone. He was so confident and ambitious."
Garcia's younger brother, Rafael Villanueva, 14, lingered outside the apartment building,
talking to passers-by before getting a haircut for the funeral. "I was crying when they told
me," he said. "When it happened, I didn't know what to do. So many people have come
by -- they came yesterday, they came today, they'll come tomorrow."
Community members left a growing memorial of candles, flowers, notes and photos
outside the family's building. Garcia "used to help everybody in the building," said
upstairs neighbor Joey Sisti.
Sisti also said he had heard "the ambulance took its time getting there, wasted 25
minutes." The family also has asked why Garcia was taken to SBH rather than a closer
hospital. According to Fire Department spokesperson David Billig, "the decision to go to
a specific hospital is made based upon several criteria, including hospital diversions as
well as patient condition." Though Billig was not able to provide any specific reason why
Garcia was taken to SBH, he did note, "A call was received at 2:08 a.m. [for Garcia]. We
were on the scene at 2:13. The patient was in the hospital at 2:34."
Friends and neighbors hope the tragedy is a lesson for other teens. "The kids need to get
involved," said Estevez. "How many more times does this have to happen before we stop
the violence? How many more kids have to die for them to know?"
Don Bluestone, executive director of the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, where
Garcia had worked, said the was teen "a gentle young man." "Our community is
devastated by the murder," he said, at a recent Community Board 7 meeting. "It's
Another Norwood teen, Kamal Singh, was also murdered last fall in a similar incident
that alarmed the community.
Garcia's coach, Joe Alvarado, is dealing with the tragedy's school-wide impact. "In terms
of my baseball players, some were very close." Alvarado said. "They're taking it very
hard. Two lives were destroyed, two young lives -- Victor's and the boy that did
Now, Garcia's memory will live through his family and friends. "We hope Vic can be an
example for the rest of the neighborhood," said Garcia's close friend, Joshua
Rodriguez. "But it hurts. Vic was a good kid. In one word, he was wonderful."
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