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‘Good Samaritan’ dies helping woman

Like so many other immigrants, 23-year-old Pablo Collaguazo came to the United States for a “better life,” his aunt said.
He worked for three years to support his family - mother and five siblings - back home in Cuenca, Ecuador after his father died from cancer.
Collaguazo stayed with his aunt, 32-year-old Monica Reyes and her family in Elmhurst, and helped lay bricks so that he could send as much of his paltry earnings as he could back home.
“He was a hard worker,” Reyes said, clutching an enlarged photo of her nephew on Friday, July 6. “But it was never too much money.”
He didn’t smoke or drink and practiced Tae Kwon Do on the weekends to stay in shape, his aunt said. He was chivalrous and generous, spending evenings playing games with Reyes’ two children - Derby, 10, and Shirley, 3.
And while walking to work at 5 a.m. on Thursday, July 5, he wasn’t looking for trouble when he stepped in to stop a dispute between a Queens couple.
“One guy was trying to abuse a girl. That’s why he had to defend her,” Reyes said of her relative.
Police believe that Collaguazo and a friend were headed to work, when Collaguazo’s pal recognized the woman arguing with 41-year-old Rafael Camargo from the gym. Both pals tried to stop the fight, but things quickly escalated, and Camargo allegedly ran inside his apartment on Elmhurst Avenue to fetch a kitchen knife.
When Collaguazo and his buddy saw the weapon, they fled. According to the complaint filed against Camargo by the Queens District Attorney’s Office, Collaguazo was fatally stabbed once in the chest.
But his aunt said that the blade pierced his heart.
“He [Collaguazo] would just walk a few steps, and then he fell down and died,” she said. “He was like a hero because he tried to help that girl.”
According to the DA, Camargo brought the knife back to his kitchen, washed it and hid it in the drawer with other utensils. He was arrested at the apartment of the woman, who he had allegedly been fighting with, and police believe that he had visited the Colombian embassy to renew his passport. Camargo faces 25 years behind bars if convicted.
“The defendant is accused of senselessly stabbing to death a young immigrant who had come to this country to make a better life for himself,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown of the case. “Instead, he [Collaguazo] was tragically robbed of his future when he tried to help someone he perceived to be in need.”
Reyes and her family are now seeking a way to send Collaguazo’s body back home to Ecuador. She plans to contact the Crime Victims Support Services, a Bronx-based non-profit that paid for the funeral of fellow slain Ecuadorian immigrant Jose Tenemasa last month. But the group does not generally pay for travel arrangements, said the organization’s Executive Director, Joanne Cicero.
“His mother wants to see him for the last time, so we are trying to send him home.” Reyes said. “Now that’s the only thing we can do.”
And Collaguazo’s little cousin Derby said he already misses his favorite playmate, who he said “passed away.”
“They want to send him to bury him in Ecuador,” the solemn child said. “He was my only cousin in New York. The rest of my family is in Ecuador. Now, I don’t have any cousins here any more.”

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