WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano praised the work of his police department for swiftly apprehending the 16-year-old suspect who now faces a murder charge for fatally stabbing a movie theater employee last weekend.
At approximately 12:45 a.m. on Saturday morning, police were dispatched to the Ridge Hill Movie Theater on Fitzgerald Street, where there were reports of a fight that ended when someone was stabbed at the conclusion of a movie.
Upon arrival, police located 19-year-old Yonkers resident Daij Asante Thomas, who had suffered a stab wound to his chest, police said. Thomas was transported to a local hospital for treatment, but he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Detectives with the Major Case Squad and Crime Scene Units conducted an extensive investigation, which determined that 16-year-old Michael Pettiford was a person of interest. Police arrested Pettiford on Wednesday, charging him with one count of second-degree murder.
According to police, the entire altercation began when Pettiford approached Thomas and engaged him, grabbing his cell phone, which resulted in the fight that ended with the fatal stabbing.
Pettiford was arraigned in Yonkers on Wednesday afternoon and remanded to the Westchester County Jail. He is due back in court later this year.
“This arrest following this past weekend’s tragedy is another example why we have the finest Police Department in the country,” Spano said. “Thank you to Commissioner (Charles) Gardner and the detectives assigned to this case for all their attention to detail and hard work.”
Garnder added that he “would like to warn those who choose to commit violent crime in his city that (police) will leave no stone unturned and will use all of their resources to hunt them down and hold (criminals) accountable for their actions.”