In the heart of Harlem, a tight-knit community is grappling with the tragic killing of Jesse Howard, a 30-year-old father, and newly employed retail worker, who was found fatally stabbed around the corner from his residence.
Late Sunday at approximately 2 a.m., Howard was assaulted at the intersection of W. 134th St. and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., according to NYPD reports. Paramedics rushed him to Harlem Hospital with two stab wounds in the chest and a slash across his face.
Despite medical intervention, Howard’s life could not be saved.
Neighborhood In Mourning
Brielle George, a close friend of Howard, spoke emotionally to the Daily News, stating, “I just can’t believe he’s gone. Everyone knew him by his smile. He loved everyone.” Howard, a father to a young daughter, had recently secured employment at an American Eagle store. “He was a hard-working man,” George added. “He was taking a good path.”
A Troubled Past, An Uncertain Motive
Howard had been working diligently to rebuild his life after serving time in prison. Friends say he was focused on providing a better future for himself and his daughter. However, it remains uncertain whether Howard was specifically targeted in the stabbing.
Prior to turning his life around, law enforcement sources indicate that he had been arrested for drug possession and robbery.
Crime Trends in the Precinct and Citywide
This tragedy occurs against a backdrop of rising violence in Harlem’s 32nd Precinct, which has recorded eight homicides so far this year, marking an increase from the seven homicides in the same period last year. Interestingly, this localized spike contrasts with a citywide decline in homicides.
The latest data reveals that New York City has witnessed a drop of over 12 percent in homicides this year, tallying 319 as of Oct. 22 compared to 363 at this time in 2020.
NYPD Sounds Alarm on Increase in Stabbings
Adding to the urgency, a recent NYPD report signals an alarming 29% rise in fatal stabbings across New York City compared to pre-pandemic figures from 2019. These stabbing incidents have grown more commonplace in an array of locations, ranging from streets and buildings to buses, subways, and even retail and ATM areas.
No suspects have been identified, and no arrests have been made in relation to Howard’s murder. The NYPD is urging anyone with pertinent information to reach out confidentially via multiple avenues: call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) for English or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. Tips can also be submitted online through crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or texted to 274637 (CRIMES), followed by TIP577.