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Man Stabbed to Death in Upper West Side HIV Facility

By  Trevor Kapp Wil Cruz Ben Fractenberg and Julie  Shapiro | July 20, 2012 1:39pm | Updated on July 20, 2012 7:48pm

UPPER WEST SIDE — The supervisor of an HIV residential facility on West 95th Street was stabbed to death Friday by an emotionally disturbed man who lived there, officials and witnesses said.

The victim was stabbed several times in the chest on the third floor of The Camden at 206 W. 95th St., where he had worked for at least 14 years, about 12:30 p.m. Friday, witnesses, the NYPD and FDNY said.

"The paramedics ripped his shirt open and were saying, 'Breathe, breathe,'" said Antonio, 29, who lives on the fourth floor. 'He was gasping, saying, 'I can't breathe.'"

The victim, whom friends identified as John, was rushed to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

"He was really good to people," the victim's distraught wife said outside The Camden Friday evening. "Everyone knew he was a good person."

Cops quickly closed in on the alleged stabber, a 34-year-old man, who sources and witnesses said has a history of mental illness and lived in the single-room occupancy facility.

"I heard someone yell, 'Get the f--- out of my room,'" Antonio, who declined to give his last name, added. "The cops were trying to calm him down and were saying, 'We'll take you outside.' He kept saying, 'Get the f--- out of my room."

The suspect, who has not been identified, was taken to Metropolitan Hospital Center with minor injuries, police said.

He was awaiting charges.

Ronnica Long, 37, who lives on the third floor, said the suspected stabber had arrived at The Camden several weeks ago and quickly gained a reputation for erratic behavior.

"He was acting crazy," Long said. "They should have thrown him out."

Long said the stabber hallucinated, talking to people who were not there and banging on doors. She said she no longer feels safe in the facility.

"I'm going to leave," she said.

A man who answered the phone at The Camden Friday evening declined to comment.

Shocked residents described the victim as kind and supportive, someone who had devoted years of his life to providing services for those with HIV.

One woman said he intervened when she was being sexually harassed by another resident, and he took care of the problem so she would feel safe.

Long said he was "one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet."

"He'd give you the shirt off his back and not expect nothing in return," she said.

"He was such a beautiful person, very sweet, very down to earth," she continued. "He didn't deserve that at all."