Teen murdered in Flatiron District was mistaken for gang member, cops say

Scene where teen was murdered in Flatiron District
A teenager is dead after a brutal, bloody stabbing turned a Friday night on the town in the Flatiron District into the scene of a horrific homicide, police said.
Photo by Dean Moses

The 18-year-old teen murdered in the Flatiron District over the weekend was killed in an apparent case of mistaken identity, police officials said Monday.

Denzel Bimpey had just stepped off a bus on 27th Street and Park Avenue ready to see family for the holiday season while taking some time off from school when he was attacked and brutally stabbed by a group of ‘Six Block’ gang members at 10:37 p.m. on Dec. 15, police confirmed.

Earlier in the day, authorities said, Bimpey — who is not a gang member — and a bunch of fellow students from SUNY Morrisville were in Syracuse en route to Manhattan when a group of about four students from Onondaga College accused Bimpey of being part of a crew.

“While they’re in Syracuse, the two groups are engaged in a verbal dispute where the perpetrator group starts talking some gang language, asking our victim’s group: ‘what block are you from?’ and they respond, ‘We’re not in a gang,’” Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said. “They just seem to be students that came across a group that may have mistaken them for other gang members.”

Both groups apparently boarded the bus together, yet eyewitnesses reported that there were no confrontations during the ride to the Big Apple, Kenny noted.

However, the group struck when Bimpey and friends disembarked the bus near 27th Street and Park Avenue, and attempted to retrieve their luggage.

“A fight immediately breaks out between the two groups,” Chief Kenny said. “Our victim attempts to grab the male who ends up stabbing him in a bear hug to keep from getting stabbed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out and he gets stabbed three times.”

Bimpey reportedly suffered stab wounds to the chest, right shoulder and forearm penetrating between seven and eight inches deep. The victim was able to meander a block from where the attack took place, ultimately collapsing on 26th Street and Park Avenue, leaving a bloody trail in his wake.

Responding officers from the 13th Precinct found a box cutter beneath Bimpey, who still had a pulse, according to Chief Kenny. The teen was rushed to Bellevue Hospital where he later succumbed to his wounds.

The perpetrators apparently fled the scene in a black SUV. Police say using surveillance footage, they were able to track the SUV to Onondaga college where they currently identifying people of interest.

According to Chief Kenny, the perpetrators are believed to be “6 Block” members, a gang that operates out of Harlem. The “6 Block” apparently has an ongoing feud with another gang dubbed “9 Block,” mistakenly believed Bimpey was a member of despite the fact he protested his innocence.

According to PIX-11 News, Bimpey was visiting family in the Big Apple for holidays while on a break from school. A cousin described him as a “great kid.”

No arrests have been made and the investigation remains ongoing.