A 70-year-old suspect has been arrested in the fatal stabbing of a young man in Sara D. Roosevelt Park Saturday afternoon. Police believe the violent incident started with a dispute over the drug K2.
It happened near Chrystie Street and East Houston Street at around 2:15 p.m. 23-year-old Arturo Valdez was knifed by the older man. He was rushed to Beth Israel Hospital, but did not survive. According to the Daily News, the suspect has been identified as Larry Fullewellen. He’s been charged with second degree murder. More from the News:
Before the stabbing, Valdez was shouting at another man about money he was owed, said Douglas Koonce, a witness. The target of Valdez’s ire was accompanied by two other men, one of whom had a knife. “The other guys jumped in — they shouldn’t have jumped in,” said Koonce. “Next thing you know, he [Valdez] was on the ground.” After the stabbing, the attacker stood over Valdez said: “I told you! I told you!” The three men then fled, Koonce recounted.
Police describe both the suspect and victim as homeless.
Drug-related violence is nothing new in and around Sara D. Roosevelt Park. In May of 2017, a woman was brutally beaten near the park by a suspect who was carrying 11 bags of marijuana. After that attack, members of the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition renewed their pleas for the city to pay more attention to what’s happening in the area:
This area has become a hotbed of drug selling, K2 in particular. Park goers and nearby residents have been threatened and harassed by drug dealers here. It’s becoming the 1980s all over again. We have vulnerable populations here: elders, children, high school students, a housing project with deaf residents, and a homeless population that is vulnerable to abuse from drug dealers. We can’t afford to have a drug problem making this worse for people who are already struggling.
The coalition argued that finally activating the Stanton Street park building as a community space and stepping up homeless outreach would help curtail violent crime. “We have been saying this, asking for this, since 1994,” the community activists wrote. “We think it is long past time Park’s listened to us.”