Police arrested a 14-year-old Bronx teen after he stabbed his former friend and alleged bully to death on Wednesday. All it reportedly took to end a friendship and send one teen over the edge was an iPhone. Former best friends, fighting over the theft of the phone, became murder victim and accused killer after the alleged attacker, who had previously attempted to kill himself before spending two weeks in an inpatient psychiatric clinic, fatally stabbed his former friend. Neighbors report that the suspect had been the target of harassment and bullying for weeks by the victim and a group of his friends.
Noel Estevez, 14, had been released from a Bronx area inpatient mental health program only eight days before he is alleged to have stabbed his eighth-grade classmate and friend, Timothy Crump, to death. Estevez’s neighbor, Milagos Arroyo, 25, told the New York Daily News that prior to the tragic events, the two boys had been best friends and they frequently rode their skateboards together. Arroyo says that “constant bullying for three months” led Estevez to kill Crump. According to both Arroyo and Marisol Perez, who is also a neighbor of the Estevez family, trouble began when Crump accused Estevez of stealing his iPhone, leading to the affliction of a longterm campaign of bullying on Estevez. Arroyo recounted being told by Estevez’s mother that he was in fear that those who were bullying and harrassing him would end up killing him.
Workers at the building in which Estevez’s family lives told the New York Daily News of how, in the last few weeks, a group of “bullies” would come by the building and urinate on the Estevez’s apartment door, with one saying that he had personally been called to clean up the urine on at least six separate occasions. One worker recalled that Estevez would panic at the sight of the group of six boys, who chased him through his neighborhood streets. Not even the building itself was a safe haven for the targeted boy due to the fact that one of the boys chasing him also lived in the building and would allow the others inside.
According to Perez, Estevez’s father complained to the principal of the boys’ school just a day before the stabbing occurred. Both his mother and father had pleaded with school officials to approve a “safety transfer” for Estevez, which would have removed him from the school district, but their request was never granted. It has been reported that the mother of Estevez went to police last week to file a complaint about the incidents. Perez also said that Crump had served a suspension from school last year due to having punched another student so hard that he broke his jaw, although there has been no confirmation of that from the district education officials.
Police report that Crump confronted Estevez outside of their middle school doors just as school was being dismissed on Wednesday – shortly after 3:00 p.m. – and started to punch him for no apparent reason. At that time, Estevez brandished a knife before stabbing Crump three time, with varying reports saying that he was stabbed in the chest or the stomach. School safety officers took Estevez into custody at that point so that New York police could arrest him. Crump was rushed to Lebanon Hospital in the Bronx where he was pronounced dead. Crump’s neighbor, Tyrone Rivers, said that Crump is “not a trouble maker” and was no bully.
Memorials to the slain student, including candles and messages, have appeared at the school, where students returned to class on Thursday. Grief counselors were also available on site, where many of the students had witnessed the fatal attack. Meanwhile, Estevez faces charges of manslaughter and second degree murder charges in adult court and is due to be arraigned on Thursday.
By Jennifer Pfalz