Community members are mourning the loss of a Peekskill teen who died after being stabbed during an altercation Saturday night.
According to Peekskill police, resident Joaquin Salazar succumbed to his injuries soon after friends dropped him off at Hudson Valley Hospital Center to receive emergency medical attention Saturday night. He was 18 years old.
“This is no doubt a difficult and sad day for Peekskill,” Mayor Andre Rainey said in a Facebook post Sunday. “Violence in Peekskill is unacceptable, and we will not allow it to pull us apart, particularly in these difficult times.”
On Saturday, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Peekskill police responded to Hudson Valley Hospital after receiving reports two males had arrived with apparent stab wounds to the torso area, police said in a press release.
Potential witnesses at the hospital notified police that a group had gathered in the parking lot at China Pier on Louisa Street in Peekskill, where the individuals engaged in a physical altercation. During the dispute, two men had been stabbed, police said, and were driven to the hospital by friends.
Due to the severity of the injuries, the two men were transported to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where Salazar died. The other male, also an 18-year-old from Peekskill, is still being treated for his injuries, according to police.
During the investigation, police learned that a third male, who had also sustained injuries during the fight, was taken to the Peekskill-based hospital, police said. Based on the information received at the hospital, the man was later taken into custody for his role in the fight, though charges are still pending.
Rainey said the city will launch a weekly “teen convo” Zoom session for Peekskill youth to stay better connected and coordinated. With the area shut down due to the pandemic, Rainey stressed the importance of giving youngsters a consistent platform to express themselves.
Rainey added plans to work with parents throughout the city to listen and talk about ways to prevent further tragedies from happening. Families are encouraged to provide input on what the community can do to give youth members more healthy outlets to express themselves, solve disputes and grow.
“On a personal note, as a father of three, it’s critical that as parents, we stay vigilant in providing guidance and supervision not only for our children but all of Peekskill’s children,” Rainey said. “That is our responsibility to all of our children.”
With Salazar a Peekskill City School District alum, Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Mauricio said the district has created a support line for students, alumni, teachers, and staff affected by this loss. The support line, which can be used via call or text, is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 914-522-0624.
Additionally, Peekskill High School and Peekskill Middle School support staff will be available virtually on Monday and Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. for SEL counseling. No appointment is necessary, with students encouraged to drop-in at any time.
Parents should contact the school social worker or school psychologist if additional support or resources is needed, Mauricio said.
“Our hearts and prayers are with the family and friends of these alumni during this difficult time,” Mauricio said. “In these challenging times, let us remember to work together as a community and support each other.”
The Peekskill Police Department continues to investigate this stabbing. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Detective Division at 914-737-8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous tips may also be made at www.cityofpeekskill.com under the crime tips section.