NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters today that the murder of a youth soccer coach near Union Square early Sunday morning may have been been the result of mistaken identity. “There’s some information that there was a fight in a bar,’’ Kelly said today. “At this time, we don’t believe that the victim was involved in the fight with the perpetrator at the bar."
The Post's source says, "The perp is in a bar on 14th street, he gets into an argument with a female. After he’s arguing with the female, a guy and a couple other guys come over, and they try and intervene in the fight. They take the girl away, and they all leave." It's unclear what caused the argument, besides the guy being a homicidal lunatic, but the source says the suspect went back into the bar and continued drinking.
A half hour later, the suspect emerged with a different woman, and happened to pass the original woman he'd had an altercation with. Apparently, the victim, Michael Jones, was talking on his cellphone nearby. Words were exchanged, and investigators are theorizing that the perp believed Jones was connected to the earlier clash in the bar. “Words were exchanged, but woman keeps walking," says the Post's source. "Is it plausible that he mistakes the victim for one of the guys in the bar? it is, but he wasn’t there."
Kelly says it's unclear if surveillance footage shows Jones arguing with his assailant before the fight, but according to police sources, footage shows Jones slamming the suspect into a building. But his assailant pulls a knife and slashes him across the chest and throat, severing his ear. Jones was left to die on the sidewalk as the perp walked casually away, with his hair in a ponytail.
There will be a private funeral service for Jones tomorrow morning at First Baptist Church in White Plains, NY. Jones, originally from Liverpool, England, worked as a youth soccer trainer for the Red Bulls, and also coached the Castleford Rovers Soccer Club in Armonk and Bedford. A statement from the Westchester Youth Soccer League in New Rochelle calls Jones "an inspiring influence on our players and many adult volunteers who worked with him." And the Red Bulls remember him as "a tremendous individual, a fantastic coach who loved soccer and a terrific friend for many of us."