Obituary: Felix Najera dies at 49

October 17, 2007

At about midnight Friday, Felix Najera was sleeping on a cardboard box in front of the Iglesia Cristiana Betania Church on East 103rd Street, when one teen lit his pants on fire with a cigarette lighter, police said. Najera jumped up, “causing him to be engulfed in flames,” said Sgt. Carlos Nieves, a New York Police Department spokesman

Najera, 48, a Mexican immigrant, suffered burns over at least 40 percent and possibly as much as 75 percent of his body, including his face, chest, arms and abdomen. He was in critical condition Friday night at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, police said. (link)

A drunken homeless’ life in the New York city streets isn’t worth much to many. It’s reality. Even less if he is an Mexican immigrant. Surprisingly, upon hearing of the horrible plight of Felix Najera many residents collectively began voicing their rage.

“Whoever did this has no love for humanity,” Rev. Ariel Soto of Iglesia Cristiana Betania Church on East 103rd Street said. “The person who did this is psychologically disturbed. There is absolutely no meaning to this.”

A veteran NYPD detective who was passing out fliers with Najera’s photograph and an offer of a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, shook his head and said, “I can’t remember a case like this happening here, and I’ve been here since 1994.”

“What we’ve witnessed with this case is just a of unbelievable inhumanity and a disregard for human life, and the person who has been arrested for this crime needs to be punished to the ultimate extent of the law,” said Manhattan City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito. (link)

The perpetrator was found. It wasn’t a teenager. It was 29-year-old Israel Torres.

In the weeks before the attack, prosecutors said, Mr. Torres taunted Mr. Najera. They say that it is Mr. Torres’s image that was captured on the surveillance tape, and that he admitted to the crime under questioning. (link)

Funny enough, Torres’ father is a homeless man himself.

“He’s in a shelter now. The father comes by, he don’t pick up his head, because he’s embarrassed of his son.”

Anna Arroyo seem to be the most affected by the tragedy. She was Najera’s partner in crime, his girlfriend, and drinking buddy.

Ms. Arroyo still navigates her eight blocks, from bodega and now to the memorial for her companion. “When she comes upstairs, she keeps looking out the window,” (her daughter) said. “She’s calling his name.” (link)

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3 Responses to “Obituary: Felix Najera dies at 49”

  1. Abdul Kargbo Says:

    Man,

    That’s the saddest thing I’ve read in a long, long time. :-(

  2. hardknocklife Says:

    Brother, I know. It’s just so many factors that contribute to such outcomes, that you can’t put blame on just one person in such cases.


  3. Amazing Article , I thought it was remarkable

    I look forward to more interesting postings like this one. Does Your Blog have a subscription I can subscribe to for fresh posts?


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