NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Police say they have apprehended three men responsible for the death of 29-year-old Enrique Perez Galindo, who died after being robbed near his home on Hamilton Street.
The victim was apparently "stabbed and robbed of cash outside his apartment" at about 2:30 a.m. on February 25, according to statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).
Perez Galindo "managed to return to his apartment," according to the statement, but he was pronounced dead at 2:39 a.m.
"He made [it] to the doorstep of the house and was able to talk with his wife but by the time the cops came [he] had no pulse," said one relative of the deceased.
He was a father of four kids, ages 6 months to 11 years old, and originally hailed from Oaxaca, Mexico.
Perez Galindo's tragic murder marks the first reported killing in 2017, and occurred just over an hour after a shooting injured two men about a dozen blocks away in downtown New Brunswick.
The man had been working in the construction business for the past four to five months, and was on his way home from work, when he was attacked, according to family.
Less than 48 hours later, police had announced three arrests in connection with the killing.
Three young men from New Brunswick are being held on charges of murder and robery as part of an "intensive" joint investigation by the MCPO and the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD).
Manuel “Manny” Maldonado, age 20, Jose David “Sparky” Vasquez-Rivera, age 18, and Xavier “Caballo” Sanchez-Parral, age 18, are all being held at the Middlesex County Jail.
"I hope justice is made I thank the officials who did a great work, I have no words to thank them," said Francisco Perez Galindo, a brother of the deceased.
A Facebook page that belongs to one of the defendants claims an affiliation with "MS13," a well-known street gang with a presence in New Brunswick,
The page, under the name "Jose David (Sparky)," also includes a photo of a mural celebrating the gang, and the account's profile photo was apparently uploaded just nine hours before the brutal murder.
Police have been quiet about a motive for the crime, only indicating that it was a "robbery."
New Brunswick Today has repeatedly asked the NBPD to identify the largest gangs in the city, but the department's spokesperson has repeatedly declined to answer, saying that our simple question was "arbitrary in nature and [does] not reference a specific incident."
"I am not prepared to issue a statement for you in regards to generalities," said NBPD Captain JT Miller. "If there is a specific incident in which you wish to have more information please advise, and if I am able to comment without jeopardizing the integrity or confidentiality of an Investigation I will do so.
Family of Perez Galindo, a resident of the Hamilton Gardens Apartments at 300 Hamilton Street, said that the 29-year-old man was dropped off by an "unknown vehicle" before his death, and that three masked men were involved in the violent fatal attack.
"Where my uncle was dropped off we believe he was stabbed because there were blood all over," said a niece, who added that police had taken several items into evidence including a mask, as well as her uncle's wallet and cell phone, which she said were found "far from the parking lot."
The Hamilton Gardens Apartments are located at 300 Hamilton Street in the Fifth Ward of the Hub City, along the border between New Brunswick and Franklin Township. They are owned by Joseph & Eugenia Anisko according to property records.
"I hope justice is made. I thank the officials who did a great work. I have no word to thank them," said Francisco Perez Galindo, the victim's brother.
Many people first learned of the fatal robbery as a result of the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD), who reported to their community that a victim was "approached by 2 to 3 male perpetrators who demanded personal property. A physical altercation ensued and the victim was assaulted with a sharp object."
"The victim was treated by first responders on scene, but died from his injuries," read the crime alert sent to all students and faculty as well as those who subscribe to the RUPD's Nixle alert system.
The NBPD has not issued any alerts to the public or the press about this crime, though the MCPO statement is considered a joint statement of the MCPO and the NBPD.
Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD), however, did issue a crime alert to its community because the incident occurred in the Fifth Ward of the city.
The killing of Perez Galindo is at least the fourth violent attack to take place in the apartment complex since 2014, when Rutgers expanded their alert policy to include "off-campus" areas.
In August 2014, a 23-year-old man was robbed of $150 and slashed in the neck with a sharp object at Hamilton Gardens, and four months later, police were looking for a duo that pistol-whipped and robbed a 20-year-old man during a "prearranged meeting" at the 104-unit complex.
Then in June 2015, a 20-year-old woman was stabbed in the stomach and chest during an altercation in the driveway of the complex, as we reported.
The homicide is being investigated by NBPD Detective Drew Weiss and MCPO Detective David Abromaitis. At least one canine officer was also involved in the investigation.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.