By Steve Mosco
The Ridgewood man wanted in connection with the stabbing death of a youth soccer coach for the New York Red Bulls left a note with his brother saying he was “sorry” before fleeing the country to Mexico, the NYPD said.
Meanwhile, the Red Bulls organization left a note of its own on the team’s website.
“We are aware of this tragedy and on behalf of the entire organization, want to send our most heartfelt condolences to Michael’s family, friends and loved ones,” the organization’s statement said. “He was a tremendous individual, a fantastic coach who loved soccer and a terrific friend for many of us. This is truly a sad day for our soccer community and we will do our utmost to help authorities in their investigation of this case. Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael’s family at this time.”
Michael Jones, 25, was killed at about 4:30 a.m. Oct. 7 on West 14th Street in Manhattan’s West Village after an altercation with Orlando Orea, also known as Orlando Gutierrez or Orlando Estevas, police said.
Orea, 32, bought a one-way ticket on an Aero Mexico flight out of John F. Kennedy International Airport Oct. 9 before authorities could put him on a no-fly list, the New York Post reported.
Police said last Thursday they know the Mexican village where he is, and authorities were working to indict him and to extradite him. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said several agencies, including NYPD, the U.S. Department of State and Interpol as well as authorities in Mexico, were involved in a joint effort to track Orea down. The suspect is from Puebla, police said.
Police were investigating whether the stabbing stemmed from a fight at a bar and if it could have been a case of mistaken identity, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters Tuesday.
Jones, originally from Liverpool, England, had been taken to Bellevue Hospital and died from stab wounds to the neck and torso, police said.
The NYPD released surveillance video Sunday of the suspect, a dark-haired, pony-tailed man in a leather jacket.
The New York Red Bulls, a Major League Soccer team, held a memorial Oct. 10 in Jones’ current home turf in Westchester County, which was attended by hundreds.
Jones’ body was being returned to England. His family lives in Tarleton, near Liverpool.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.