A New York City mom is in mourning after her son was murdered in his apartment.
In East Harlem, a Queens man killed a resident of an apartment building and injured six others. According to Patch.com, 31-year-old Aljo Mrkulic was arrested over the weekend and charged with murder, arson, and two counts of assaulting a police officer.
When police showed up to the apartment building on 409 East 120th St, they were initially responding to reports of a fire. Once inside, they found a “combative” and naked Mrkulic blocking access to a ninth-floor apartment. The ensuing fight, which included Mrkulic biting an officer, led to Mrkulic’s arrest. Then after firefighters extinguished the flames, the authorities found another man’s naked body inside the ninth-floor apartment. The body showed signs of stab wounds.
In a video released by the New York Post, you can see Mrkulic being carried out of the building and strapped into a stretcher. One of the residents who fled the building after hearing the fire alarm simultaneously yells, “He started the fire! He tried to kill all of us here!” Six of the residents were injured in the fire and the following panic to get outside. Then speaking to reporters, one of the residents expressed seeing the aftermath of the murder.
“There was a lot of blood in the hallway — a lot of blood all over the place. I was in the military. You see blood. That freaked me out,” said the resident, 62, recalled.
Later, police were able to identify the body as 30-year-old Christopher Rodriguez. Police also released information saying that Rodriguez’s testicles were chopped off, his stomach was ripped open, and his neck was slashed. Rodriguez’s mother, 47-year-old Jacqueline Perez, then came forward, according to the New York Daily News.
“They have video of my son being stabbed in the neck and the torso out in the hallway when he ran out to get help,” Perez explained. “He had cut off my son’s private parts and cut open his stomach. The detectives told us that.”
Perez then clarified that Mrkulic and Rodriguez were friends since high school. Her son knew that Mrkulic was homeless after getting into a fight with his own mother. As such, Rodriguez tried to offer help.
“He took him in not even a month ago,” Perez added. “My son helped him out with money.”
In addition, she shared the fact that Mrkulic was romantically interested in Rodriguez. Unfortunately, the feeling was not mutual.
“Aljo wanted to be romantically involved but my son didn’t feel that way about him,” she said.
When asked what could have caused the violent end to the relationship, Perez noted, “Nobody really knows what went on in that room.”
She also shared a final and important piece of information for the police officers who arrested Mrkulic and the officials/residents who were in contact with Rodriguez’s blood. Both men were HIV-positive.
Again, Mrkulic bit one of the cops while fighting with them. And, one of the residents remembered seeing Christopher Rodriguez’s blood in the hallway. Perez told news reporters that those people should get treated.
“Those officers who got bitten should know that both my son and his friend were HIV positive,” Perez told The News. “My son has had the virus since he was 14. He told us his friend also was HIV positive.”
Wishing to end the conversation with words of love and sorrow, Perez then spoke kindly of her late son.
“My son was openly gay,“ she said. “He never had any problem with that and neither did our family.”
“He graduated from Lehman College five years ago,” she added. “He was a business major. He was supposed to start a new job working at Chase opening accounts for people but then COVID-19 happened.”
“Everybody loved my son,” Perez concluded. “He always went to parties to dance. He was always taking care of animals. He would even feed cats in the street.”