A New York City smoke shop employee has been arrested and charged with murder in the stabbing of a 59-year-old homeless man who allegedly picked a fight with the store’s elderly manager.
The New York Police Department said it responded around noon Saturday to a 911 call about a man stabbed at the Magic 7 Smoke Shop located at 174 W. Fordham Road in the Bronx.
Upon arrival, officers observed a homeless man, later identified as 59-year-old Kenneth Fair, unconscious and unresponsive with a stab wound to the neck.
EMS responded and transported the seriously injured man to NYC Health and Hospitals/Jacobi, where he was later pronounced deceased.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the victim "was involved in a verbal dispute with a store employee in front of the location when the 54-year-old suspect (also a store employee) approached the victim from behind and stabbed the victim in the neck," according to the police department.
Kenneth Gowdy, 54, of the Bronx, was arrested and charged with murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon in connection to the incident, police said.
The violent episode reportedly began when the homeless man complained as the smoke shop’s 78-year-old manager carried boxes into the store, according to N.Y. Daily News, which cited police sources. Fair allegedly intentionally bumped into the shop manager, before then taking a swing at the elderly man.
That’s when Gowdy, who works at the shop and lives around the corner, came up behind the homeless man and stabbed him in the neck, according to the newspaper.
The manager was not charged in connection with Saturday's deadly incident.
Gowdy reportedly has nine prior arrests, the most recent of which was in 2011 for a forcible touching charge. Meanwhile, Fair’s arrest record stretched back to 1989 and included multiple assaults, robbery and criminal weapon possession charges, a source told the newspaper.