A 35-year-old father was fatally stabbed Thursday in a random New York City attack as the city approaches a violent crime rate that could top last year's numbers.
New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers arrested 19-year-old suspect Franklin Mesa, who faces charges of murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon, NYPD confirmed to Fox News Digital.
Officers responded to the attack on the 3200 block of Decratur Ave. in the Bronx just after 1 p.m. Thursday, where they located the victim, Nathaniel Rivers, a father of one, according to The New York Post. Authorities transported Rivers to a nearby hospital, where he ultimately succumbed to his wounds.
"It doesn't look like they knew each other," an NYPD public information officer said when asked about a motive in the attack.
The attack reportedly happened in front of Rivers' wife, who attempted to ward off the attacker with a crowbar, according to the Post.
A neighbor who identified herself as Sunshine to the outlet described Rivers as the "best person in the world."
"He would give you the shirt off his back. Whatever you needed he would help you with. He was that kind of a person," she said.
An investigation into the fatal stabbing is ongoing, and police could not immediately confirm Mesa's criminal history, but the suspect's sister told the Post on the condition of anonymity that her brother is "schizophrenic, so he has mental problems." She added that he takes medication but was not sure if he took it on Thursday before the stabbing.
Residents in the Norwood area described the suspect as a neighborhood menace to the Post.
"I hear from the community now, that they have had some encounters [with him]," the neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told the outlet. "Situations that were hostile, aggressive. The lady across the street — her kids play here — she said that he tried [to] prevent her from getting on the bus. Getting in front of her. And she was like, ‘What are you doing?’"
The fatal stabbing comes as New York City is on pace to break its 2021 and 2020 violent crime rates.
While the murder rate is down year-over-year (238 murders so far this year compared to 252 at the same time last year), all other violent crime categories have increased since this time in 2021. Overall violent crime has risen more than 37%.
Incidents of rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto have increased year-over-year. All other categories except for shooting incidents and shooting victims have also increased. Shooting incidents are down more than 9%, with 747 recorded so far this year compared to 833 at this time last year.
Baltimore, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Atlanta are also on track to break last year's violent crime rates.