KINGSBRIDGE — The mother of the 19-year-old aspiring Navy officer allegedly gunned down by a longtime criminal Monday night said she has just one question for her son’s killer.
“Why couldn’t you just be a man?” asked Luz DeJesus, 37, tears running down her face as she stood on the corner of West Kingsbridge Road and Heath Avenue, where Victor Maldonado was killed.
DeJesus said police told her a friend of Maldonado’s got into an argument with another woman over a lack of manners.
“One of them held the door for the other one and (the other one) just didn’t know how to say ‘thank you,’” DeJesus said.
DeJesus said she was told the woman mouthed off to Maldonado and said she was going to get her older brother.
Police took Deshawn Coleman, 34, who has 26 prior arrests, into custody Monday night.
When investigators searched Coleman’s apartment, they found the .380-caliber handgun believed to have been 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 in court later this month, authorities said.
DeJesus said her son lost 60 pounds in preparation for the Navy and was waiting for his sister’s sweet 16 to pass next month before enlisting.
“He wanted to join the Navy to make a difference for himself and to prove to everybody that there’s a lot more out there than there is over here,” DeJesus said.
DeJesus said a wake will be held Sunday and Monday from noon to 9 p.m. at Williams Funeral Home on Broadway and 231st Street in Kingsbridge.
She said the funeral for her son, an avid Batman fan, will likely be Tuesday at Our Lady of Angels Church on Webb Avenue just north of 197th Street. She added that Maldonado will be laid to rest wearing a Batman shirt with Batman blankets.
Maldonado said she is confused as to how Coleman, who has a lengthy criminal record, could still be walking freely.
“He should’ve never been able to be on the street,” she said. “But everything happens for a reason. I just don’t know why it happened to my son.”
Dan Rivoli contributed to this article.