EAST VILLAGE -- A 21-year-old man was fatally stabbed in the neck inside an East Village apartment building by a longtime tenant early Monday morning, police and neighborhood residents said.
Police found the body of Christopher Jusko in a pool of blood outside of 272 E. 7th St., between Avenues C and D, about 5:30 a.m. Monday.
Second-floor tenant Jairo Pastoressa, 25, was charged with second degree murder Monday evening, police said. Sources said he turned himself in.
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Witnesses said they saw Jusko stumble out of the six-story building before collapsing on the sidewalk.
"I thought he was drunk until I saw the blood," said neighbor Charles Smith, 41, who was out getting his morning coffee around 5:30 a.m. "It's shocking to see someone die."
Smith said police arrived on the scene just minutes after the man collapsed to the ground.
A resident of 272 E. 7th St. said he heard woman scream about 5 a.m. before coming upon the "horrible scene."
"It could have happened to me, it could have happened to anyone else who lives in the building," said Clyde Ramos, 22, a resident of the first floor.
Another man who witnessed Jusko stumble out of the apartment after the attack said he had noticed the victim in the neighborhood multiple times before.
"He was always around here," said Jaime Reyes, 48, who was visiting his mother at the Jacob Riis Houses complex on Avenue D at the time.
He described Jusko as a "loudmouth," adding, "he was not all there."
Police said a dispute involving the victim's ex-girlfriend, who was at Pastoressa's apartment at the time, led Jusko to confront the two at the East 7th Street building, the Wall Street Journal reported.
"I'm quite sure it was over a girl," Ramos said.
Pastoressa told police he stabbed Jusko after the victim flashed a firearm, but no gun was found at the scene, the Journal reported.
Neighbors described Pastoressa as a passive, good-natured person and expressed shock when hearing about the brutal incident.
"For Jairo to do something like this is crazy," said third-floor resident John Bonilla, 59, who saw a bloody trail on the staircase from the second floor down to the hallway of the first floor.
"He was laid back."
Ramos and others echoed Bonilla's statements that Pastoressa was not a troublemaker.
"He was a good guy," Ramos said.
Another neighbor said Pastoressa was "well liked" and a "social butterfly," but that he had been picked on in the past and had his apartment broken into last year.
"This ain't [like] him," said Damien J., 27, who lives next door to Pastoressa's apartment. "He ain't no fighter."
Pastoressa grew up in the apartment building and knew many of people in the neighborhood, said Lyn Pentecost, executive director of the Lower Eastside Girls Club, whose son went to daycare with Pastoressa.
"He's not the kind of guy to be violent if unprovoked," she added.
Pastoressa apparently worked on street art with Antonio "Chico" Garcia, a well-known neighborhood graffiti artist whose murals cover dozens of walls and storefronts across the East Village.
A mural on Avenue C at 6th Street celebrating President Barack Obama's election includes Pastoressa's signature in spray paint below Garcia's, and an online video appears to show the two working on another piece.
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