Neighbors and family friends of the troubled 14-year-old Bronx boy who allegedly stabbed another teen to death outside their middle school described how the kids' months-long feud culminated in tragedy.
Timothy Crump was stabbed three times in the chest with a kitchen knife at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after IS 117 in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx shortly after classes let out for the day, police said.
The alleged stabber, 14-year-old Noel Estevez, was charged late Wednesday night with second degree murder and first degree manslaughter, police said.
Estevez was held without bail at his arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court Thursday evening. He did not enter a plea, and was not required to.
Estevez allegedly admitted stabbing Crump to officers in the 46th Precinct, said Assistant District Attorney Alina Levi.
"The kid kept hitting me with his fists so I... stabbed him four or five times," Levi said, citing Estevez’s statement to police.
Estevez was allegedly bullied by Crump and several others for several months, said his lawyer, Eric Poulos. He stopped going to school out of fear, he said. He tried to transfer schools, he said, but nothing seemed to come out of it.
Wednesday was his first day back.
Poulos said Estevez, who will testify in front of the grand jury, was punched and kicked in the nose and ribs during Wednesday incident.
"The very first day back at school he got attacked," Poulos said. "They didn't even give him a chance to breathe. They went after him right away like a pack of wolves.
"This is a 14-year-old living in terror," he added. "He was being assaulted and defended himself."
Several boys, including Crump, allegedly came to Estevez's home at least five times over the past few months, Poulos said. They made fun of his appearance, his family and even urinated on his door.
They allegedly banged on his apartment door and threw rocks at the windows, said family friend Milagros Arroyo.
"Here's a child being threatened, continually saying 'we're going to kill you, you're dead,'" he said. "And the police response was: don't open the door."
Poulos said that Crump's family members allegedly threatened Estevez's father and grandmother. Estevez's aunt, cousins and family friends were in court, Poulos said. Several family members began to cry as he was led out of the court room.
Estevez's next court appearance is June 24.
The boys were once friends but their relationship turned ugly after an argument over a cell phone, Arroyo, 25, said.
"They'd threaten [Estevez] if he goes to school. They would beat him up, fight him," she said. "He would always say 'I'm afraid to go to school, there's a lot of kids trying to come after me, trying to hurt me.'
"He would tell his mom 'they're trying to kill me,'" she said.
Estevez had been treated for psychological problems and last month tried to hang himself with a belt, Arroyo said.
After the bullying started, she said, he became withdrawn, even barricading himself in his bedroom and refusing to eat.
"Every part failed: the school failed, the police failed," Marisol Perez, 43, a family friend.. "This kid was crying out for help and it was too late."
Crump was suspended in December for the rest of the year after he allegedly punched another child, knocking out several teeth, according to a law enforcement official.
Crump was taken to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital on Wednesday where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Neighbors said Crump lived with his mother and had an older brother.
The knife was recovered outside the school, said Department of Education Spokeswoman Marge Feinberg.
"We are devastated to lose one of our children like this," said Chancellor Carmen Fariña in a statement. Grief councilors would be on hand at the school, she said.
Esteven had been treated problems and last month
Classmate Chailyn Oballe, 12, was leaving school Wednesday when she saw a group huddling in a corner shortly after the attack.
"And that's when I saw the boy with the knife," Oballe said. "He looked like he was about to stab somebody else and then he put the knife in his pocket and covered it with his shirt."
People started to run away, several students said, screaming "someone has a knife."
Oballe - who was given permission by her mother to speak with amNewYork -- said a security guard then approached the alleged stabber.
"I was shaken," Oballe said.
Those who knew Crump remembered him as a sweet but shy child who would help anyone who asked for assistance.
"Timothy was a quiet person. He wasn't no bully, he wasn't no troublemaker," said Tyrone Rivers, a neighbor who used to coach Timothy in sports in the neighborhood. "He was a nice person."
Rivers said Timothy would help other kids in the neighborhood.
"For someone to take a life like that," Rivers said, shaking his head in disbelief.
Next-door neighbor Vincent Rosario said Timothy was always with his mother.
"He was a good kid, a humble kid," Rosario said.
(With Noelani Montero and Karina Cuevas)