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Slain Soccer Coach Could've Been Victim of Mistaken Identity, Police Say

By  Murray Weiss and Aidan Gardiner | October 9, 2012 2:02pm | Updated on October 9, 2012 2:27pm

UNION SQUARE —  A soccer coach stabbed and killed at Union Square could have been the victim of mistaken identity, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday.

Police are looking into the possibility that Michael Jones’ killer may have gotten into a dispute in a 14th Street bar early Sunday morning before he knifed his 25-year-old victim near 14th Street and Fifth Avenue.

“There may have been a ‘discussion’ with a woman that [the suspect] met in a bar,” Kelly said. “We don’t believe at this time that he [Jones] was involved with the fight with the perpetrator in that bar.”

The killer may have left the bar and mistook Jones for another man who had been with the woman, police said.

“We’re not ruling that out,” Kelly said. “It’s still a possibility.”

Police sources said detectives, who were poring over video in the area Tuesday, got a break in the case when they grabbed surveillance from the bar that showed a clearer picture of the suspect. He later trailed Jones along West 14th Street, confronted him and brutally stabbed him about a half dozen times, sources said.

The attacker fled after killing Jones and remains at large.

Police released surveillance footage of him Sunday. Sources said investigators, armed with the clearer pictures of the suspect, were close to identifying him.

Jones was part of the New York Red Bulls soccer organization and was a youth coach for several teams in Westchester.

A memorial for him organized by the Red Bulls and the teams he coached is planned for Wednesday in White Plains.