‘Local danger’ Franklin Mesa, who fatally stabbed Nathaniel Rivers, attacked 2 others last year
THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY: Franklin Mesa, 19, was arrested and charged with homicide in connection with a fatal stabbing that occurred in a Bronx neighborhood. The victim, identified as Nathaniel Rivers, 35, was found wounded in the chest On East 205th Street and Decatur Avenue on Thursday. A pocket knife was discovered on the street nearby and the incident was deemed unprovoked by the authorities.
Nathaniel Rivers had just parked his car near East 205 Street and Decatur Avenue in Norwood at 1:15 pm when Franklin Mesa, 19, approached him and started yelling at him, according to police and neighbors, the New York Post reported.
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Mesa, a native of the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx, was characterized as schizophrenic and known for frequently taunting locals.
Mesa approached Rivers while he and his wife were in the car, and after a brief exchange of words, Mesa stabbed Rivers through the car's window as the victim was getting out, according to the police. In an attempt to defend her husband, Rivers' wife ran out, grabbed a pry bar, and started striking the suspect. Rivers was later declared dead at St Barnabas Hospital, according to The New York Post.
Mesa, who is currently being held in custody on $500,000 cash bail or $1.5 million bond, reportedly pounced on an unprepared Bryan Diaz in April 2021. Mesa was then swiftly arrested for assault and released. Diaz told New York Post, “I was really mad with the whole situation. When he got arrested, the cops sorta shrugged at me when I asked what else can be done. They were like, “you can’t really do much because the system protects him because he has a mental illness. And I was, like, ‘thanks?’ I was furious because if he could do this to me, he could do this to someone else or try to kill them.”
Reportedly, last year, Diaz and his mother, Gabriella Calderon, were returning from his aunt's house on foot when they came upon Mesa. Calderon was introduced by Mesa. Mesa, according to Diaz, shrugged at him in astonishment because none of them knew him. The victim recounted Mesa then sneaking upon Diaz with a quick punch. The two then began to fight on the sidewalk. Diaz was able to hit Mesa with his umbrella during the altercation. After making a call to his family, Mesa entered his building, according to Diaz. Diaz, who allegedly just had a bloody nose as a result of the assault, was incensed with the police response, according to New York Post. Diaz was horrified to learn that Mesa was accused of killing Rivers. He said: "That is sad. I believe the system was seriously flawed and let that occur," he added. "They could have taken more steps to stop it,"
Is Franklin Mesa really schizophrenic?
According to New York Post, Ramona Santos, Franklin Mesa's grandmother, defended her grandson by saying that he was on 180th Street visiting his mother and brothers at the time of the incident. She said: "He didn't have any blood or bruises on him or anything." He simply got home, watched some TV, and went to bed. She added that Mesa has been receiving treatment for his schizophrenia for the past seven years and that he takes several medicines daily.
Prosecutors said at the court hearing on Saturday that surveillance video shows Mesa approaching the crime scene and then racing away moments later while holding a huge knife. The Bronx District Attorney's office asserted that he is also seen in the video dumping the knife in a random person's yard and "racing back to his mother's house."
Mesa is "disabled," according to defense attorney Michael Rooney, who also noted that Mesa does not attend school and that he lives with his grandmother and aunt.