A suspect is in custody in the death of an 18-year-old man who was stabbed, doused with liquid and set on fire in a Bronx apartment building Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The teen was in an argument with his assailant before the assault shortly after 3 p.m. in a fifth-floor hallway of a building in Highbridge, according to the NYPD. The suspect stabbed the teen three times, once in the chest and twice in the back, before using the accelerant and setting him ablaze. He suffered burns on about 90 percent of his body, police said.
The victim was later identified as Winston Ortiz. A senior NYPD official with direct knowledge of the case said that neighbors heard screaming, and thought the building was on fire before they went out into the hall to witness the gruesome scene. Another teenager, a girl, was screaming for help in the hallway. Witnesses attempted to put the fire out by pouring water on Ortiz.
Surveillance video reviewed by detectives showed the suspect arriving about five or 10 minutes before Ortiz did. Officers found Ortiz barely conscious with extensive burns on his body and stab wounds to his chest.
A 22-year-old man, Adones Betances, is in custody on murder and manslaughter charges in Ortiz's death, police said Thursday. Attorney information was not immediately known. A senior NYPD official with knowledge of the investigation said Ortiz was dating Betances's teen (and possibly underage) sister, and the attack was connected to that relationship.
Police say Ortiz, who lived just a block away from the building where he was attacked, was taken to Harlem Hospital in critical condition and he later died.
The incident follows another violent night near the intersection of 165th Street and Woodycrest Avenue. On Tuesday, two men were shot just across the street from Wednesday's scene, with one of the victims struck seven times. The crimes are not believed to be linked at this time, police said, but that possibility is something investigators are looking into.