The teen who was set on fire and stabbed to death in a brutal Bronx attack was a recent high-school graduate who “was never mixed up in the wrong crowd” and came from a church-going family, his devastated neighbors said Thursday morning.
Winston Ortiz, 18, was stabbed three times before his assailant doused him with gasoline and set him on fire with a match on the fifth floor of a building on Woodycrest Avenue near West 165th Street in Highbridge — around the corner from his home — around 3 p.m. Wednesday, cops said.
“That’s a horrible way to die,” neighbor Jose Saurez said Thursday morning. “This is sad.”
He said Ortiz came from a “good family.”
“They are a good family, good parents,” he said. “I cannot say anything negative about them. I never see him getting in trouble. I never see him hanging out in the hallway. I never see him hanging in front of the building.”
A next-door neighbor, a 57-year-old teacher who declined to give her name, told the Post she watched Ortiz grow up.
The teen, who recently graduated from a charter school, was the eldest of three boys. His mom is a teacher and his dad is a truck driver, the neighbor said.
“He told me he was going to college,” the neighbor said. “He was so ecstatic. He was beaming. His parents were happy for him.”
“They were always going to church,” she added. “Sometimes they had service at their home. I would hear singing coming from their apartment.”
Ortiz wasn’t involved in a gang, according to the neighbor, and “never came out of his house.”
“That’s why this is so surprising,” she said. “He was never mixed up in the wrong crowd.”
“The family is so broken up,” the neighbor added. “[The attacker] took their son’s life. I don’t think they understand what they have done to this family. They destroyed the family. Who does that?”
Alex Paulino, 50, who said he has gone to church with the family in the past, said his daughters live in Ortiz’s building and one of them was up crying all night.
“Last night I didn’t sleep,” Paulino said. “My [14-year-old] daughter has been crying, crying.”
“Oh my God. He was a good kid,” he added. “It gives me goosebumps.”
Per: New York Post