East Coast Violent Crime

Teenager Stabbed and Set on Fire Dies, Suspect at Large

Victim Winston Ortiz
Victim Winston Ortiz

Teenager Stabbed and Set on Fire Dies, Suspect at Large

An 18-year-old man has died after being stabbed, doused with liquid and set on fire in a Bronx apartment building Wednesday afternoon, police said.

The teen was in an argument with his assailant before the assault shortly after 3 p.m. in a fifth-floor hallway of a building in Highbridge, police said. The suspect stabbed the teen three times before using the accelerant and setting him ablaze.

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The victim was identified as Winston Ortiz, according to a senior NYPD official with direct knowledge of the case, who said that neighbors heard screaming and put water on him. Those neighbors said they initially thought the building was on fire before witnessing the gruesome scene. Another teenager, a girl, was screaming for help in the hallway.

Surveillance video reviewed by detectives showed the suspect arriving about five or 10 minutes before Ortiz did. Officers found him barely conscious with extensive burns on his body and stab wounds to his chest. The arson and explosive squad will be examining containers left behind at the scene for clues.

The incident follows another violent night near the intersection of 165th Street and Woodycrest Avenue. On Tuesday, two men were shot just across the street from Wednesday’s scene, with one of the victims struck seven times. The crimes are not believed to be linked at this time, police said, but that possibility is something investigators are looking into.

Police say Ortiz, who lived just a block away from the building where he was attacked, was taken to Harlem Hospital in critical condition and he later died.

Investigators are not sure of a potential motive, and there were no immediate arrests.

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