Brooklyn man killed in basement fight was a part-time boxer, family says

As a boxer in the ring, Jonathan Galan Quiroz loved to fight. He even went on social media to show off his bruised knuckles.

But it was a brawl in a Brooklyn basement that cost him his life, police said.

Cops said Galan Quiroz was beaten to death in a violent struggle in the basement of an apartment building on Fifth Ave. near 48th St. in Sunset Park around 5:25 a.m. on Aug. 31.

When police responded to a 911 call, they discovered the 32-year-old unconscious on the floor, with severe head trauma.

Jean Melendez, 34, was arrested and charged with murdering Galan Quiroz.

A witness who saw the fight told cops that Melendez repeatedly punched Galan Quiroz before he grabbed his hair and slammed him to the floor, according to court papers. Then he placed Galan Quiroz in a chokehold, after which he stopped moving and turned purple, a criminal complaint details.

Melendez admitted to cops that he was fighting with the victim, prosecutors allege, though it was not clear what they were fighting about.

The city’s chief medical examiner ruled that Galan Quiroz died from blunt force trauma to the face and head and compression to the neck.

“He strangled my boyfriend,” Teresa Estrada tearfully told a neighbor after hearing the news. “My boyfriend is dead.”

The neighbor said Estrada had an on-again, off-again relationship with Galan Quiroz during which her relatives got very close with him.

“They don’t want to talk to anybody right now,” a family member told the Daily News. “They’re grieving and are at a loss for words. They said they don’t know what to feel and they are just going through the emotions.”

Galan Quiroz, who immigrated from Mexico, appeared to have few relatives in New York City.

“I’m very sad because we hadn’t kept in touch in so many years,” an uncle said, adding that he and Galan Quiroz left Michoacán for a better life in the States.

“We just ended up in different parts of the U.S. It happens when you cross the border.”

Melendez has a violent history, according to cops. In January, he was charged with assault after he punched a man in the face and broke his glasses after refusing to pay him for work on his car, according to court papers.

In May, Melendez was charged with assault and resisting arrest after he allegedly scuffled with cops who were trying to break up a fight between him and another man on a Brooklyn street.

The basement fight began in the cellar below La Ideal Meat Market, a butcher shop. Eight steep steps lead into a basement with brownish red brick. Inside, there is a large freezer used by the butcher upstairs and the rest serves as a storage room for the building’s superintendent.

The butcher, Jose Garcia, said he locked the cellar as usual when he left for the night. Around 6 a.m., he received a phone call from the police, who told him that there was a fight in the cellar and that he needed to go to his shop.

Garcia said that only he and the building superintendent had keys to the basement. The super met up with Melendez and Galan Quiroz to drink and play cards before things got out of hand, according to authorities.

“All the people think it happened at my store. It’s bad for business,” Garcia said. “Can you imagine you’re at home sleeping and the police call you and say something is happening at your store?”

Floris Romero, one of Galn Quiroz’s friends is struggling with his loss.

“It hurts my heart because he was my friend,” Romero said. “He was good, my friend. Always good to me.”