CROWN HEIGHTS — Two teenage boys described by neighbors as "good friends" were stabbed to death Wednesday night — a block apart, within a five-hour span — in what police suspect are unrelated attacks.
Jamal Joseph, 18, was inside Allegiance Sneaker at 249 Utica Ave., near Lincoln Place, about 6:50 p.m. when he was fatally stabbed in the neck, shoulder and torso, NYPD officials said.
Joseph, who recently moved to East New York but grew up in Crown Heights, was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital, police said.
Less than five hours later, his friend, John Garrett, 17, was caught up in a fight with men outside a bodega at 1122 Eastern Parkway, near Utica Avenue, when someone pulled a knife and stabbed him in the torso, police said.
Surveillance footage from outside the bodega shows at least two men grappling with each other.
Garrett, who lived in the neighborhood, was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital, police said.
"He was an excellent kid. He was going to go to college, but he didn't get a chance to finish high school," said Garrett's distraught father, Anthony.
"He doesn't hang out. He was a great kid. He just turned 17.
"We're in shock. I want answers."
There were no immediate arrests in either killing, police said.
Friends were shocked to learn of the boys' deaths.
"They knew each other. They were good friends. It's crazy," said Gianni Moran, 17, who also grew up with both Garrett and Joseph.
Moran said Joseph wasn't the type to regularly antagonize people.
"He was laid back and cool. He was really chill. He wasn't the rowdy type," the friend said.
Investigators don't believe the two killings are linked.
Anti-gun advocate Tony Herbert called for legislators to make charges for carrying a knife more stringent.
"What we are now dealing with is people pulling out knives. And what they need to understand is pulling a knife is just as bad as pulling a gun," Herbert said during a press conference on Utica avenue Thursday afternoon.
"You are taking somebody’s life when you pull that weapon out."