So Easy to Be Killed

Brooklyn, NY

#1 Oct 3, 2012
Victor Maldonado had just enlisted to serve his country before he was gunned down.
A Bronx teenager who was enlisting in the Navy was killed before he could serve his country when he tried to break up a fight between two girls, police said Tuesday.

Victor Maldonado was gunned down by the brother of one of the warring girls, police said. Cops nabbed the 34-year-old ex-con, who has a lengthy rap sheet, shortly after the deadly shooting, police said.

“He was trying to break up a fight with the guy’s sister over some nonsense,” said the slain 19-year-old’s grieving dad, who is also named Victor.“It was something so petty.”

While cops questioned the suspected shooter, Maldonado’s heartbroken mom stood in the rain and wept for her slain son.

“He was going to the Navy,” 37-year-old Luz DeJesus sobbed.“He was a peacemaker. He was not in any gangs or anything.”

Standing on the corner of Kingsbridge Rd. and Heath Ave., beside a makeshift memorial, DeJesus was inconsolable.

“I want my son back,” she wailed.“I don't want to go home without my son!”

Maldonado’s 15-year-old sister, Nayiliana DeJesus, said she lost her “only brother.”

“We were close,” she said.“He was my soul. My life was my brother.”

Then she broke down crying.

Police have not yet charged or identified the alleged gunman, who sources say served four years in state prison for assault from November 2007 to December 2011.

The suspect was paroled three times during that stint and each time he landed back in the pokey for violating his parole. He has 26 prior arrests for offenses ranging from robbery and criminal possession to murder and attempted murder, according to law enforcement sources.

The tragedy that led to Maldonado’s death unfolded about 10:20 p.m. Monday in front of an apartment building at 2805 Heath Ave. in Kingsbridge.

Maldonado’s grieving dad said it began over a silly slight.

“It was something about courtesy,” Victor Maldonado, 38, said.“One girl was walking out, holding the door for the girl who was walking in.”

Not hearing a “Thank you,” the girl who had held the door sarcastically said,“You’re welcome,” he said.

Then the other girl “started mouthing off,” he said.

At that moment, Maldonado was heading home from a basketball court, saw the girls squabbling, and intervened when he recognized the girl who had been slighted.

“Mind your own business,” the alleged shooter’s sister said, according to the victim’s dad.“She went upstairs and told her brother.”

Minutes later, Maldonado lay mortally wounded on a Bronx street. He died a few hours later, police said.

“I don’t understand,” DeJesus said of the shooter.“Why couldn’t he be a man and just ask my son what happened?”

DeJesus said the rude girl who sparked the fight by not saying thank you also has blood on her hands.

“They need to take his sister too," she said of the suspect’s sibling.“She's the reason why this happened.”

“These kinds of situations are so, so sad,” Maldonado’s dad added.“It's senseless to me. I don't wish this hurt on anyone. It's killing me inside."

Victor Maldonado said his slain son was looking forward to his sister’s Sweet 16 party at the end of the month.

“That was all he was waiting on,” he said.

— With Rocco Parascandola

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