QUEENS — The man stabbed to death in broad daylight in Richmond Hill last week suffered a brain injury in a car accident and may have gotten lost when he went out to do his laundry, his family said.
The victim, Jose Rubio, 32, was a Salvadorian immigrant who worked as a busboy and dishwasher until he was severely injured in a car crash several years ago.
"He was in a coma for two months," said his uncle Eusebio Rivera.
Rubio had been living with Rivera and his family in his apartment on 88th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, since January this year. "After the accident he walked in a funny way, he kept forgetting things, he was getting lost... They also put metal in his head."
Rubio was stabbed March 6, when he was walking down Jamaica Avenue with a teen. A group of four or five men attacked them near 127th Street about 3:30 p.m., the NYPD said.
Rubio was stabbed twice in the torso, according to the coroner's report. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The group also attacked a 17-year-old Rubio had been walking with, hitting him in the shoulder with a rock. The police have not yet identified the teen who refused medical treatment at the scene, cops said.
Initially, cops said the men were attacked by a gang, but it has not been confirmed. Nothing was stolen and no arrests have been made, according to the NYPD.
The motive for the attack remained a mystery Tuesday.
When Rubio was attacked, he didn't have his ID on him, the family said. It's unclear how he got to Richmond Hill, about 20 blocks from his apartment, the family said.
"He probably got lost," Rivera said.
Rivera recalled an incident, when Rubio went to a neighborhood park and was unable to find his way back. The family said they found out about his death the next day, after a police officer picked up Rubio's phone.
Rubio, the family said, came to the U.S. about 14 years ago. Until his accident, he worked in the restaurant business as a dishwasher and a busboy.
Since the accident, which the family said was caused by a drunk driver, Rubio was unable to work.
Rubio spent more than a year in an immigration detention center and was released in January, the family said. He was trying to legalize his status, they said. "He had an appointment with immigration this Monday," said Rosa Alba Rivera, Rubio's aunt. "He was trying to get a work permit."
After a wake planned for this Thursday in Corona, on Friday Rubio's body will be sent to El Salvador where his parents live.