Authorities in New York said an 18-year-old college freshman returning home for the Christmas holidays was fatally stabbed after he was mistaken for a gang member. Per the New York Post, the fatal incident happened last week in Flatiron District, Manhattan.
The deceased victim, identified as Denzel Bimpey, was a business administration student at SUNY Morrisville. The 18-year-old was returning home for Christmas when the incident occurred.
“It’s not really a Christmas to celebrate. We are mourning him, so we cannot celebrate Christmas,” the deceased victim’s brother told the news outlet. “There’s no happiness this Christmas. Christmas is not going to be celebrated this year, it can’t be celebrated this year.”
Police said another college student fatally stabbed Bimpey after the deceased victim and his friends got into a verbal altercation with the suspect and his group. Bimpey was returning to New York City from Syracuse at the time.
“While they’re in Syracuse, the two groups are engaged in a verbal dispute, where the perpetrator group starts talking some gang language asking our victim’s group ‘what block you from?,’” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said on Tuesday. “And they respond, ‘we’re not in a gang.’”
Police said things later escalated though nothing initially happened during the bus ride. Bimpey was stabbed as they were taking their luggage after the bus stopped at East 26th Street and Park Avenue South, the New York Post reported.
“At this time, our victim attempts to grab the male who ends up stabbing him in a bear hug to keep from getting stabbed,” Kenny said. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out, and he gets stabbed three times.”
Following the stabbing, Kenny said Bimpey and his friends fled the area before he later dropped to the ground and started to bleed out. “The perpetrator group realizes he’s down, and they run back up Park Avenue where they enter into a black SUV and flee the scene,” Kenny continued. “The victim’s group has no prior arrest history. It just seems to be students that came across a group that may have mistaken them for other gang members.”
Police said the violence stemmed from a dispute between gangs identified as the Six Blocks of Harlem and the Bronx’s Nine Blocks. “We believe our victim group may have been mistaken as Nine Block members,” Kenny said. The law enforcement official also said the color of the clothes Bimpey and his friends were wearing did not suggest they were members of a gang.
Bimpsey’s sister, Godslove Bimpey, also reiterated that her brother was not a gang member. “I can’t comment on the ongoing investigation but my brother was not a part of no gang,” she said.
“We just need the support; It’s not easy to plan a funeral, so we have a GoFundMe account going around, and that’s all I have to say,” she added. “There’s nothing else I have to say. We just need help.”
Authorities said they arrested an unidentified individual in connection with the fatal incident on Tuesday.