A 14-year-old Bronx boy could have avoided a knifing attack last Monday, his worried mom said Monday, if the city had heeded warnings about a vicious street gang bent on retribution.
Now, the boy, who was chased down on the Bronx River Parkway, faces a tough recovery after losing a kidney from being stabbed a dozen times by the mob.
His mother, Kisha Hoke, said she tried to tell city officials that the teen was being hunted. She asked that her son’s name not be used
The boy barely escaped an attack at his school.
The single mother, who lost her apartment in April, said the Department of Homeless Services, the NYPD and the Department of Education knew her son was in danger, but did little to help. She asked to be moved out of the borough, but her pleas were ignored, she said.
“That would’ve saved my son. None of this would’ve happened if they had placed me in Brooklyn.“ Hoke says she has family in Brooklyn.
She said violent threats against her son started when he and his girlfriend broke up late last year.
The girl, who she said had gang connections, sicced some boys from a street crew on her ex. On Dec. 14, several young men came to the family’s Fordham Heights apartment and broke the windows when they couldn’t get their hands on her son.
After that attempt, Hoke said, she sent her son to live with out-of-state relatives for a month.
Then, in April, gang members waited for the boy in a car in front of his school, but school safety officers were able to help him get away safely.
After being evicted from the family’s Fordham Heights apartment, Hoke and her son were placed in a shelter in another part of the borough. On June 18, the gang of about 15 boys found the son smoking a hookah with friends in Bronx River Park.
“I told him, ‘Don’t go outside, don’t go outside, baby,’” Hoke said she told her son last Monday. “I’m going to work, and please stay here.”
They chased him through the woods near the park. The teen thought he had lost them, but they pursued him onto the parkway — where they stabbed him a dozen times and beat him.
Somehow, while gushing blood, the victim was able to stagger over to cars stuck in traffic and beg for help. The first driver rolled up the window and sped away, the boy told his mother.
Luckily, off-duty EMT worker Rowan Thomas, 21, was a few cars behind in the rush-hour traffic that crawled past the melee. She bravely chased off the remaining assailants and tended to the boy until an ambulance came.
“She saved my son’s life,” Hoke said. “She was the angel.”
Hoke still worries that the gang will try to finish the job.
Thomas stayed with the boy through his surgery and still calls almost every day, said Hoke. Though he survived the brutal stabbing, the Bronx boy’s struggles are far from over.
He’s lost a kidney, and only now is he taking his first steps and eating solid food again, his mother said. He will be in the hospital for a while, and even when he comes home, he will need help using the bathroom and feeding himself.
He and his mother are in the city’s shelter system. But Hoke has been sleeping in a recliner next to her son’s hospital bed for the past week. After the attack, she had to quit her job at a clothing store in Manhattan because she’s unable to work while she cares for her son.
A week later, she’s barely eaten, and her son is still in the hospital. He has flashbacks to the stabbing.
“He told me, ‘Mami, I still close my eyes, and I still feel all the stabs in my body, coming and going out,’ ” said Hoke.
She still can’t believe that the city ignored her request for help.
“Why did DHS do nothing?” Hoke asked, tears welling in her eyes.
Homeless Service officials said they had authorized a transfer last week, but it was too late for her son. The agency did not immediately say if it denied her initial request.
Police arrested Ramon Paulino, 21, on Friday. He faces federal charges, including attempted murder, in the attack.
Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman ordered Paulino released on $100,000 bond, but he remains locked up as federal prosecutors contest the judge’s decision.
Paulino at first denied his role in the attack, but changed his story after a detective showed him surveillance footage that captured him swinging a “large log” during the attack, according to court documents.
He admitted to being a member of the Trinitarios — a street gang that was feuding with the victim, who publicly identified himself on Facebook as a member of the Grizzlies, a Bloods sect.
A high-ranking Trinitarios member ordered a “hit” on the teen because of a beef between his girlfriend and a female Trinitarios member, court documents said.
“When a ‘Trinitarios’ member faces an opposing gang, the ‘Trinitarios’ must always support each other, including participating in a fight to support another ‘Trinitarios’ member,” the criminal complaint against Paulino reads. “If a ‘Trinitarios’ member is wounded, the ‘Trinitarios’ will avenge the assault.”
Meanwhile, Hoke frets over her boy.
“He’s my best friend, he’s my life. He’s my twin. He’s everything,” said Hoke. She eventually hopes to move out of state with her son.
Video of the near-fatal attack has been shared thousands of times on Facebook.
But the initial person who posted it misrepresented what happened. He said it depicts an act of retribution for the machete attack that killed Lesandro (Junior) Guzman-Feliz — an assault sources believe was also carried out by Trinitarios members.
The roadside attack on the 14-year-old is unrelated to killing of Guzman-Feliz, said Hoke.
She said that with all the attention paid to the killing of Guzman-Feliz, her own son’s plight has been largely ignored.
“I’m with (Guzman-Feliz’s mother), because I almost was gonna be like her, two days before,” said Hoke. But, she said, “My son is here, fighting for his life. And we need help, too. And I hope somebody hears me.”