A 35-year-old inmate was choked to death by another inmate on Rikers Island last night. An NYPD spokesperson said that Artemio Rosa, 27, is charged with murder in the death of the inmate, whose name is being held pending family notification.
According to the Daily News, the victim was sitting in a chair when Rosa came up from behind him and strangled him with his hands. When Correction Officers pulled Rosa off the man, he seemed to regain consciousness after he was given an inhaler, but collapsed shortly after.
Records show that Rosa is in Rikers on charges of criminal mischief and assault.
A City Hall spokesperson, Natalie Grybauskas, told the Times the incident occurred in the Anna M. Kross Center, where inmates who are suffering from mental illness are held, and that it was unclear what provoked Rosa.
“This loss of life is a tragedy, and serious violence of this nature is incredibly troubling," Grybauskas said in a statement. "An investigation is underway and we will do everything we can to get to the bottom of this heinous crime.”
The last inmate to be killed by another inmate on Rikers Island was 18-year-old Christopher Robinson, in 2008.
Earlier this year, the mayor and the City Council agreed to consolidate the process of reviewing new jail sites to close Rikers Island within the next decade.