Teenager Who Dreamed of Joining U.S. Navy Shot and Killed on Heath Avenue
KINGSBRIDGE — A teenager who dreamed of joining the U.S. Navy was shot and killed on Heath Avenue Monday night following a fight between two women, the NYPD and relatives said.
Victor Maldonado, 19, stumbled onto the aftermath of a heated argument between two women in front of 2805 Heath Ave., near West Kingsbridge Road, about 10:20 p.m., police sources said.
The women had gotten into a beef after one believed the other was being "rude" to her, sources said. As one of the women went to get her brother, Deshawn Coleman, the other — a friend of Maldonado's who was with her children — remained in front of the building.
Maldonado, who arrived a few minutes later and began talking to his friend, got to the building just as Coleman, the other woman's brother, came out to confront her.
Coleman and Maldonado exchanged words. That's when Coleman, who has 26 prior arrests, allegedly pulled a gun and opened fire, sources said.
When emergency responders arrived, they found Maldonado with a gunshot wound to his torso, police said.
The bullet tore through his left arm and pierced his chest, sources said.
He was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he died, police said.
Maldonado's heartbroken mom, Luz DeJesus, 37, said she was lucky to have him as a son.
"He was perfect," DeJesus said of her son. "I was so blessed to have him as my son."
Coleman, 34, was arrested Tuesday night. When investigators searched his first-floor apartment, they found the .380-caliber handgun believed to be used in the shooting, sources said.
Coleman was arraigned Wednesday in Bronx Criminal Court on charges of murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
Earlier this year, Coleman was arrested for allegedly threatening victims in two separate incidents.
In July, authorities said Coleman and two other suspects pummeled a man. Coleman allegedly held the victim on the ground by his neck while all three suspects punched and kicked the man.
On Aug. 13, Coleman was arrested for choking a woman against a wall. He allegedly held a cocked gun to her face, authorities.
"You think I'm a joke? I will...shoot you," he allegedly told the victim, according to the criminal complaint against him.
Coleman, who was held in custody, is due back in court later this month, authorities said.
Relatives said Maldonado, graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx and had dreams of joining the U.S. Navy to get out of the neighborhood and see the world.
"He wanted to do something other than be out here wasting his life," said Tabitha Torres, 27, Maldonado's aunt. "He was losing weight and working out."
Family friend Letty Hernandez, 42, said Maldonado had even sought out a recruiter to get the ball rolling.
"He was ready to join," she said, adding that Maldonado was waiting for his sister's Sweet 16 to pass in October before enlisting. "He wanted to see the world and come back with stories."
"He wanted to make his mom proud," she added.
Friends said Maldonado, who loved Batman comics, had a big presence — physically and emotionally.
"He was a big dude with an even bigger heart," said Raymond Hernandez, 21, a close friend. "It there was only one word to describe him, it'd be selfless."