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Homeless Good Samaritan Left for Dead on NYC Street

Homeless Good Samaritan Left for Dead on NYC Street

In this frame grab from an April 18, 2010 surveillance video obtained and released by ABC, is shown a pedestrian approaching a homeless man, lower right, lying on the ground after being stabbed after he assisted a woman being attacked in the Queens boroug

Associated Press

April 28, 2010

NEW YORK – The homeless man lay face down, unmoving, on the sidewalk outside an apartment building, blood from knife wounds pooling underneath his body.

One person passed by in the early morning. Then another, and another. Video footage from a surveillance camera shows at least seven people going by, some turning their heads to look, others stopping to gawk. One even lifted the homeless man’s body, exposing what appeared to be blood on the sidewalk underneath him, before walking away.

It wasn’t until after the 31-year-old Guatemalan immigrant had been lying there for nearly an hour that emergency workers arrived, and by then, it was too late. Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax — who police said was stabbed while intervening to help a woman being attacked — had died.

“I think it’s horrific,” said Marla Cohan, who teaches at P.S. 82, a school across the street from where Tale-Yax died. “I think people are just afraid to step in; they don’t want to get involved; who knows what their reasons are?”

Tale-Yax was walking behind a man and a woman on 144th Street in the Jamaica section of Queens around 6 a.m. April 18 when the couple got into a fight that became physical, according to police, who pieced together what happened from surveillance footage and interviews with area residents.

Tale-Yax was stabbed several times when he intervened to help the woman, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. She and the other man fled in different directions, and Tale-Yax pursued the man before collapsing. Authorities are searching for the man and woman.

A 911 call of a woman screaming came in around 6 a.m., but when officers responded to the address that was given, no one was there, police said. Another call came in around 7 a.m., saying a man was lying on the street, but gave the wrong address. Finally, around 7:20 a.m., someone called 911 to report a man had possibly been stabbed at 144th Street and 88th Road.

Police and firefighters arrived a few minutes later to find Tale-Yax dead. Officials say they’re not sure whether the man was still alive when passers-by opted not to help him.

Residents who regularly pass by the same stretch of sidewalk, in a working-class neighborhood of low-rise apartment buildings and fast food restaurants near a busy boulevard, were unnerved by the way Tale-Yax died.

“Is anybody human anymore?” asked Raechelle Groce, visiting her grandmother at a nearby building on Monday. “What’s wrong with humanity?”

In the urban environment, it’s not unusual to see people on the street, sleeping or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

But even assuming the person they’ve just passed is drunk, instead of injured, is no reason not to notify authorities, said Seth Herman, another teacher at the school. He remembered calling an ambulance when seeing a man who appeared to be homeless on the street, with a beer bottle near by.

He called 911, he said, because “I felt it wasn’t my job to figure out if the person was drunk or actually hurt.”

Groce agreed.

“I just think that’s horrible, whether you’re homeless or not,” she said. “He’s a human being; he needs help.”

Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago

    BUMP, hnyangl.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago

    While it is tragic how this man died--defending someone else--are we really that naive that people in an urban neighborhood wouldn't help a homeless man? You see it in people's expressions all the time when they encounter, or try to avoid an encounter, a homeless person. While I have no solutions, we continue to brush aside the homeless people because we feel we are superior to them. Society has discarded them along with the trash and wish they'd go somewhere else.
    It's unfathomable to figure out why so many people stopped to render aid (don't know about NY, but that's a crime here in TX) and only shows our society has no sancity for life.

  • Pot_luck_at_work_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Good for you fraustr1!!! I'm glad some people still have it in them to do what's right. I would've done the same. I know this from other experiences in my life.

  • Me_max50


    over 4 years ago


    How can people be so cruel and uncaring when it comes to something like this? What the hell has got into this world. This is a shame and cruel act of violence .

  • Erin222_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Dark Blue....I think you are very correct in what you say...... when you have influential minds watching violence on tv and playing video games where murder is part of the game, it breeds a certain type of mentality. This really is beyond heartbreaking and shameful.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    So what happened to the woman he tried to protect she couldnt call an ambulance?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    This man has done something that no one else probably would not have thought of right away. He's an inspiration for many. It pains me to see people pass by someone who needs help without any care. I myself have been passed by when I was wounded, but I don't curse them for it. I just hope that what this man has done will change the hearts of many throughout America.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    His dealth was not in vain.

  • 7819_712435661328_26723071_40880744_7213452_n_max50


    over 4 years ago


    This happens everywhere not just NYC, its a dog eat dog world right now...sad but true

  • New-patch_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Completely screwed up. To be honest, having lived in NY my whole life and having been a police officer here for 11 years, I am kind of surprised by this. While I would expect one or two people to walk by and not help, I am shocked that so much time passes and that no one at least called 911. People call 911 for just about everything in the city these days.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago



  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Hate to say it.. but this is a prime example why I would never live in NY. You always hear about people being cold, impersonal and indifferent. This incident just personified that ten-fold. How sad, a man died on a street after saving a woman from an attack. But because he was homeless, no one thought enough of him to actually help. I would be willing to bet if he looked like a "Donald Trump" type in a suit people wouldnt have walked by him like he was yesterdays trash.... What a tragedy.

  • White_shirt_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I am disgusted. I do not judge the entire city by the actions of a few.

  • Image_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Horrible. I don't understand how people could just walk by and do nothing. People like that really piss me off.Someone could have picked up a cellphone or phone and called for help for this guy instead of letting this guy bleed to death. He might have been homeless but he is still a human been. Mr. Hugo thank you for helping that lady. God bless and rest in peace.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    I hope one day the ones that just walked by are never in the same situation and people walk by on them. you dont have to stop just call the police to get someone help.

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