A neighborhood in the Bronx is mourning the death of 35-year-old Nathaniel Rivers after schizophrenic 19-year-old Franklin Mesa stabbed him in the chest in front of his wife.
The stabbing happened Thursday after Rivers parked his car around 1:15 p.m. at East 205 Street and Decatur Avenue in Norwood. After Mesa walked to him, the two engaged in a conversation. Police say that’s when the teen jabbed the knife into Rivers’ chest.
Rivers’ wife attempted to fight Mesa off with a pry bar, but he escaped. Rivers was pronounced dead after being rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital.
Mesa was arrested Saturday for murder and is on a $500,000 cash bail or $1.5 million bond following his appearance in Bronx Criminal Court for murder.
According to the New York Post, Mesa dropped the knife into a neighbor’s backyard and returned home, where he lived with his grandmother and aunt.
“When he came home that day, he didn’t have any blood or bruises on him or anything,” Mesa’s grandmother, Ramona Santos, said.
While the Post interviewed Santos, an angry neighbor below the grandmother yelled, “Your boy should f**king burn in hell. He killed my friend.”
Neighbors described Rivers as the neighborhood’s friend and a helpful person.
“Whenever someone passed by, he’d always say ‘Hi’ and ‘Good morning,'” Jay Rodgriguez, a resident, said. “If anyone needed help with their grocery bags, he [was] the one helping them. I’m distraught. You see the guy one day, and then he’s gone the next. I’ll never see his smile again.”
According to another resident, Bryan Diaz, this wasn’t the first time Mesa attacked a resident. Mesa attacked Diaz while walking home with his mother, Gabriella Calderon. When the 19-year-old said “hi” to his mother, Diaz shrugged in response because none of them knew him. Mesa attacked Diaz from behind, and the two fought on the sidewalk.
Mesa was arrested in 2021 for the incident, but Diaz was upset when he found out he was released since the system protected him because of his mental illness. Mesa also sliced another neighbor in the face last year, but police didn’t have evidence to arrest Mesa.