As new details begin to emerge surrounding the horrible, untimely death of 9-year-old Anthony Maldonado, who was stabbed while visiting family in Harlem over the holiday weekend, tragedy morphs into confused disillusionment – and anger.
The violence all started over a video game, according to published reports.
Earlier in the day, Anthony was seen merrily playing a skateboarding video game on PlayStation. At 3:30 a.m., he knocked, bleeding, at the door of his uncle's apartment in the Morningside Heights housing project and said he had been stabbed.
His distraught uncle called 911. Emergency personnel raced the boy to St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, but his injuries were too grave. The boy died just before 5 a.m. His devastated mother drove up from her New Jersey home and identified his body three hours later.
Police say Alejandro Morales, 25, stabbed the child in the chest. And now the boy's grieving mother and grandfather want to know why.
"Why would you kill my little boy?" Dolores Juela cried. "There is no reason."
Anthony's grandfather, Antonio Juela, was in shock.
"Anthony was playing ... on PlayStation when his friend came and stabbed him," the boy's shaken grandfather told the Daily News. "My grandson died over a video game."
Morales was charged last night with murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the death of the young boy. Authorities said he was related to the victim, while the boy's relatives identified him as a family friend who roomed with his uncle, reports the News.
Anthony, a fourth-grader at Lindbergh Elementary School in Palisades Park, N.J., had just gotten the PlayStation for Christmas, according to the paper. He was in Harlem to spend the holidays with his grandfather, but was spending the night at his uncle's.
Dolores Juela confirmed to the News that he brother, Carlos, rents an apartment in General Grant Houses, one of the city's largest public housing projects with more than 4,500 residents and nine buildings. She said three brothers, not related to Carlos, also rent the apartment with him.
The violence reportedly unfolded when Anthony's uncle went to sleep and two of the brothers who lived there went out to get food at about 3 a.m., leaving only the boy and Morales in the apartment, reports the News. Half an hour later, the boy was stabbed.
Cops told the News the child had been stabbed multiple times, and a relative told the paper that his face had been cut and he had bruises on his arms.
Police continue to investigate what provoked the fatal struggle. Meanwhile, the boy's grandfather just doesn't understand how something like this could happen.
"Anthony was a loving child who loved his PlayStation," he told the News. "He got the PlayStation for Christmas and was very happy. He was so happy."
An autopsy conducted on the boy Sunday showed Anthony had a perforated left lung and carotid artery.