Arrest made in two Throggs Neck stabbings

Police released this photograph taken from surveillance video of a person they believe is connected to the stabbing.
Photo courtesy of NYPD

The late night brawl that left three people stabbed in Throggs Neck has resulted in one arrest.

Police apprehended Joseph Aponte, 27, in the stabbing of two people at approximately 3:40 a.m. on Saturday, November 22 on East Tremont Avenue in Throggs Neck.

Aponte apparently had three accomplices who allegedly punched and struck the two victims during the attack.

He was arrested later that day, and was charged with attempted murder, gang assault, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment.

According to a police source, the dispute that turned to bloodshed emanated from Casa Restaurant and Lounge, at 3607 E. Tremont Avenue.

“(It) was an argument that originated in Casa,” stated the source, who added that the argument was settled at Casa, and then resumed later on, two blocks away, in front of 3571 E. Tremont Avenue.

One of the victims acknowledged he had been inside Casa Lounge prior to being attacked, said a police source.

Police sources have emphasized they have no evidence suggesting any crime took place inside of Casa.

Casa co-owner Arnold Rodriguez denied any wrongdoing in the incident, and said that Casa is a restaurant and lounge, not a ‘nightclub in disguise,’ as some community critics suggested.

Sam Beltran, who described himself as a Casa associate, said that no violence occurred inside the establishment.

No patrons had to be removed either, he said.

“No fight happened in the establishment, and no fight spilled out onto the street,” said Beltran, referring to a published report.

Video footage they revealed did not show any fighting directly in front of the establishment at the time the alleged crimes occurred.

“If you look at our video surveillance, you see nothing going on in front,” said Rodriguez, who added “How do we control something that did not necessarily start in here?”

They noted that the place where the stabbings were actually reported, as listed in the complaint report, was in front of the Green Apple Deli at the corner of Lafayette and E. Tremont avenues.

However, other videos from the same time period appear to show a group coming from the direction of Casa being accosted by another group at the corner of Sullivan Place and East Tremont Avenue.

Community activist John Marano said he does not believe Casa management’s story.

Senator Jeff Klein’s office has reached out to the State Liquor Authority on the manner, said Marano.

“We are not looking to close businesses down; we want people to be successful,” said Marano, but he felt Casa was being promoted as a club, not a restaurant.

“It is a quiet neighborhood and we don’t need additional incidents,” he said, adding the community will not tolerate it.

Senator Klein is taking the matter seriously and he wants to “cut Casa off from serving alcohol.”

“I’m pleased that the State Liquor Authority promptly responded to my request to look into this troubled establishment,” the senator stated.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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