By Rebecca Henely
A 24-year-old man died last week at Elmhurst Hospital seven hours after being stabbed on a Corona commercial strip, the NYPD said. Jose Balberas had been arguing with an unknown amount of people in front of a deli and collapsed in front of a Laundromat across the street before the authorities arrived, police said.ï»¿
Balberas, whose last known address was on 34th Avenue near 103rd Street in Corona, was injured late on the night of March 16, police said. Officers received multiple calls around 10:30 p.m. reporting a dispute in front of the La Rosa Mexican Deli at 104-05 Northern Blvd. in Corona, police said. When officers got to the scene, they found Balberas with multiple stab wounds in front of the New Choice Laundromat, located across the street at the northwest corner of the 104th Street and Northern Boulevard intersection, police said.
The EMS personnel who arrived at the scene took Balberas to Elmhurst Hospital, police said. A little after 5 a.m., he was pronounced dead, police said.
Police had not yet made any arrests as of press time Tuesday evening and said the investigation was ongoing.
The slaying took place on a commercial strip. Police had the area in front of the deli and in front of the Laundromat cordoned off into early last Thursday afternoon. Many employees of stores adjacent to the site said they had closed up for the night and were at home when the murder occurred.
Rafael Diaz, who works at a pastry store near the area, said it happened when he and five other members of his family were closing up the shop.
“Figured it was a stabbing,” Diaz said. “We didn’t hear anything.”
Diaz said they saw Balberas when police cars started driving down the street near the Northern Boulevard and 104th Street intersection and they realized what had happened.
“All the cops were coming into the corner,” he said.
Police have not revealed the race of the perpetrators, although Balberas was described as Hispanic. Diaz said he has seen incidents of racial violence in the area in the past.
“It seems to be blacks against South Americans,” Diaz said. “There seems to be a lot of racism.”
Residents at the house listed as Balberas’ last address said they did not know anyone who had lived in the house by that name. Relatives of Balberas could not be located last Thursday.
This was the second homicide incident reported in the 115th Precinct this year, an increase compared to 2010, which recorded no homicides before March 13, according to NYPD crime statistics.
The first homicide occurred in January, when a 3-month-old boy, Addison Reinoso-Xoyatla, was allegedly shaken by his baby-sitter, 26-year-old Ana DeLarosa, until he was brain damaged and required life support, which he was taken off of in January. DeLarosa was charged soon afterward.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.