Stephen James, 21, was out dancing with his girlfriend to celebrate her 21st birthday on Sunday morning before he was stabbed to death, his loved ones told DNAinfo New York.
He was clutching his bloody stomach about 3:50 a.m. when he flagged down police at the intersection of 123rd Street and Liberty Avenue in South Richmond Hill. He was rushed to Jamaica Hospital, and died Monday morning, police said.
"He was the best son you could ever have," said James' mother Geeta James, 43. "He'd go to church every Sunday. He'd take his niece, nephew and younger sister. He'd take me to work at 3:30 in the morning. What more can I say? Nobody can say anything bad about my son."
Police originally released video of one suspect in jeans and a white shirt. New video released on Wednesday from inside the club revealed two other suspects, in similar clothing.
James' girlfriend, Debra Alli, said her boyfriend and another man were thrown out of Level Ultra Lounge on Liberty Avenue after getting into an argument when the other man started swinging a T-shirt in their faces and bothering the couple.
The skirmish continued up the block, but James came back unscathed about a minute later, his girlfriend said. She and her boyfriend then separated, and moments later he returned grabbing his lower abdomen.
“He said, ‘Call an ambulance. They stabbed me,’” Alli recounted.
Cops said James was rushed to Jamaica Hospital with a non life-threatening injury, but a hospital spokesman said he was never in stable condition.
James' mother said she spoke to her son around 3 a.m., before the stabbing. She received another call minutes later.
"When I saw his friend calling my phone, I said, 'Oh my God, something happened,'" James said. "It was like a nightmare. I just said, 'Please God, let him be safe.'"