The early morning of July 13 saw a gruesome crime unfold on Pier 84 in Hudson River Park, Midtown West, Manhattan. A 35-year-old man, Hugo Rene Morales, was found stabbed to death on a park bench, nestled between the Circle Line tourist terminal and the Intrepid Museum. The prime suspect in this violent act is 19-year-old Luis Gil, who was arrested in Chicago, as reported by the NYPD.
Gil had seen his girlfriend dancing with another man on social media, and in a fit of rage, he resolved to stab the next man he came across, according to police. The unfortunate recipient of this misguided anger was Morales, who was asleep on a park bench in Manhattan at the time.
“And that was the first man he saw,” stated Chief of Detectives James Essig during an unrelated press conference at One Police Plaza. The New York Post noted that there was no connection between the victim and his assailant or the unidentified girlfriend.
Óscar Morales, a friend of the victim, shared his grief with the Daily News. He recalled, “He wanted to come here (to the U.S.) so he could buy property and build a house for his mother to live in. He wanted a comfortable life for his mother. He wanted to come here, raise money, work, then go back and be with his family.”
In the immediate aftermath of the crime, the perpetrator and five other men fled from the scene, as per police reports. Investigators were able to track them down by utilizing video surveillance cameras. The cameras recorded their escape as they illegally entered the Subway by jumping over the turnstile.
Morales was urgently transported to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital, but despite best efforts, he was pronounced dead. Morales, an immigrant from Guatemala, had been residing in West New York, New Jersey, with hopes of creating a better life for his family back home.
Gil, who managed to make his way to Chicago via bus, was apprehended by detectives on Monday night, July 17. The charge against him is that he fatally plunged a knife into Morales’s chest. Chief of Detectives James Essig reported the arrest. Gil is expected to be extradited to Manhattan to face murder charges.
However, it’s important to remember that all charges are merely allegations at this point. In the eyes of the law, the individuals being prosecuted are presumed innocent until proven guilty.