NEW YORK — A group of teens beat a well-known merengue singer in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan Saturday night, knocking him out and leaving him with knife wounds.
Javier Gutierrez, a 43-year-old merengue artist from New Jersey who goes by Mala Fe, was in a van at 180th Street and Audubon Avenue on his way to meet with other musicians. A group of teens in the street refused to move and one of them broke the vehicle's rear window, according to Gutierrez' Instagram account.
When he asked them to let him pass, Gutierrez said the teen told him to get out of the car, saying that he wanted to fight him.
"I said 'no, I don't want to fight you. You look like my son,'" Gutierrez told WPIX.
Then, someone broke a window of Gutierrez's white Mercedes, and when Gutierrez got out of the van to inspect the damage, he says they attacked him.
"They throw the first bottle. They knocked me out," Gutierrez said. "I go to the floor. They start punching me, cutting me with a knife."
An emotional Gutierrez told WPIX he remembered asking the teens, "Are you guys going to kill me?"
The teens beat him and the van driver was also attacked, police said. Gutierrez is now at home recovering.
"I try to be a nice person with everybody. I don't have any enemies," Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez's assailants used machetes in the attack, said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who referred to the teens as "young gang members."
Police arrested a teen on Sunday. His name was not immediately available.
"The impact of violence is costly and our families can't live in fear," Rodriguez said. "The city and all communities must come together to reduce this senseless violence and do more for our teenagers to prevent them to join those cruel gangs."