Suspect charged in UES stabbing; police say it was love triangle

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A man has been charged in connection with a fatal stabbing that claimed the life of a 22-year-old man on the Upper East Side early Tuesday.

19-year-old Gustavo Rodriguez was charged with murder, felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

The incident happened on Third Avenue between East 94th and East 95th streets around 1:15 a.m.

The woman who took the victim to the hospital in a taxi initially told police it was a random attack, but investigators now believe it was part of a love triangle.

Detectives who reviewed surveillance video determined that the woman was with her new boyfriend when her ex-boyfriend, who is also the father of her two sons, confronted them.

During the dispute, police believe the new boyfriend fatally stabbed the ex-boyfriend in the chest. Now, 19-year-old Gustavo Rodriguez is charged with murder, felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

The woman loaded the victim into a passing taxi and rushed him to the hospital, where she told detectives that he was her current boyfriend. But they say that story quickly unraveled, and that a witness corroborated their suspicions. That witness reportedly told them the two men were involved in a dispute about the woman before the stabbing, which apparently happened after the man put his hands on the woman.

Rodriguez is said to work with the woman at Haru, a Japanese restaurant on Third Avenue. The stabbing victim, 22-year-old Xavier Olivares, was pronounced dead at the hospital. He works at a nearby Italian restaurant.

There has been a 24 percent increase in slashings and stabbings citywide so far this year, with 1,158 knife attacks through Sunday, compared with 933 during the same period last year.

The increase in blade attacks this year has prompted police brass to introduce Operation Cutting Edge, an initiative that takes a data driven approach to identify when and where most knife attacks occur.
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