Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

A 7-year-old New Jersey child died and a teen was injured Saturday morning in a stabbing inside a city home, police officials said, and their mother has been charged with murder.

Police found the child unresponsive with stab wounds on the third floor of the North 6th Street home around 7 a.m., the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. The child was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Murder charges have been filed against Iris Tolentino, 46, of Paterson, the mother of the boys, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office said late Saturday.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, police responding to a report of a stabbing found the 7-year-old boy, a 15-year-old boy, and a 17-year-old boy inside the North 6th Street residence. The 17-year-old had suffered a stab wound on his upper arm, and was holding the bathroom door closed when officers arrived. The 15-year-old was inside the apartment and uninjured.

However the 7-year-old had suffered numerous stab wounds and was unresponsive. The 7-year-old and 17-year-old were transported to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center for treatment, and the older boy was released a short time later. The three boys are brothers, police said.

Tolentino resisted arrest, the Prosecutor’s Office said, and two police officers received minor wounds. Once in custody, Tolentino was taken to St. Joseph’s for a mental health screening and admitted pending an evaluation, the prosecutor’s office said. She will be processed upon discharge.

Similar: Arkansas Mother Accused of Murdering Her Own 15-Year-Old Son

She was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest, and two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

Friends and neighbors of the 7-year-old said his name was David; they described him as a fun-loving, happy youngster who liked to play with his friends.

Neighbor Ernesto Rodriguez said when he woke up Saturday and looked out his third-floor window, he was shocked by the scene.

“I saw our neighbor boy, David, laying on his front porch next door,” the 42-year old said. “There were police cars and an ambulance. David had blood on his chest and face. It was all over him. He was being given CPR, but he was not responding.”

Rodriguez later learned the boy had died of stab wounds.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Rodriguez said. “My own son, Jayden, is 8 years old and was friends with David. Just yesterday, they were playing catch with a football, right here on this sidewalk.”

Similar: Louisiana Police Arrest Mother of Slain 16-Month-Old Girl

Other neighbors said three brothers lived with David and his mother on the third floor of their house.

Next-door neighbor Arlyn Rodriguez said the mother was a nice lady who often carried a Bible.

“Whenever she walked by, she always gave a pleasant, ‘Hello,’ ” Rodriguez said. “She would always say, ‘God bless you,’ in Spanish.”

“I feel terrible about this,” Rodriguez said. “It’s hard to even imagine.”

37-year-old Jonathan Santiago sat on his porch Saturday afternoon, next to David’s home, and spoke with neighbors. He said he took the news of the tragedy especially hard.

“I taught David how to throw a football,” Santiago said. “I showed him how to throw a spiral by holding onto the threads correctly with his fingers.”

While holding the hand of her 5-year-old son, Emmanuel, Elisa Araujo said she lives on the second floor, one floor below David’s family. She said Emmanuel and David were friends, and displayed a recent photo of David on her cellphone. The picture shows the child sporting a broad smile while holding a teddy bear.

“I heard commotion this morning but didn’t know what was happening,” Araujo said. “It was not until later in the morning that I heard what happened.”

The incident remains under investigation.

Mayor Andre Sayegh visited the grieving family of the boy at St. Joseph’s hospital Saturday afternoon, calling the incident an “act of domestic violence,” according to a post on his Facebook page.

“Consoling the family of the young victim and asking all of you to pray for the father and two young sons,” he wrote.

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born |