Police have made an arrest following an incident in which a migrant died after being stabbed at a Randall’s Island shelter on Saturday. It’s the most recent instance in which a migrant has died at a shelter as the city continues to grapple with the ongoing asylum-seeker crisis.
Authorities said that they received a 911 call around 7:27 p.m. on Saturday while the assault was still underway. The victim suffered a stab wound to his torso and was pronounced dead after being transported to a hospital in Harlem, according to a police report obtained by Gothamist.
The NYPD charged 27-year-old Moises Coronado with murder on Sunday around 5 a.m. The authorities also identified the victim as 24-year-old Dafren Canizalez.
Attorney information for Coronado was not immediately available.
“It’s really unfortunate when any act of violence occurs anywhere in the city of New York – let alone when someone is actually in the care of the city,” Murad Awawdeh, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, told Gothamist on Sunday. “It’s even more distressing.”
The city’s migrant shelters are helping house tens of thousands of new arrivals that are entering the city each month. And during this period, there have been several troubling reports of migrants dying while in the city’s custody, including multiple instances of suicide at a shelter in Queens and others dying of apparent overdoses outside of a shelter in Brooklyn. Last month, an 11-year-old boy was found unresponsive at an Upper West Side hotel that is currently being used as a shelter.
Awawdeh said he wants to see the city take more steps to make sure that shelters are safe, like taking stock of its current safety protocols. He also said he wants to stress that despite a handful of reports, immigrant communities generally “make communities safer.”
“I don’t want us to think that this is going to be the status quo moving forward,” Awawdeh said. “We just need to have systems set in place to ensure everyone’s safety.”
The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Randall’s Island, in Manhattan, opened in August as the city’s largest migrant relief center, capable of housing up to 3,000 new arrivals. The sprawling tent facility – which straddles three sports fields – is housing adult migrants. Randall’s Island had also operated as a migrant shelter in the past – but abruptly closed.